Marysville High School running back Ryan Kern picks up yardage during a 2019 game. Prep football teams in Ohio may begin working out next week. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
The light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel became a bit brighter on Thursday for high school sports teams in Ohio.
Governor Mike DeWine announced that all sports, both contact and non-contact, may begin workouts next Tuesday, May 26.
It was previously announced that non-contact sports such as baseball, softball and track and field could begin practicing the day after Memorial Day.
The governor’s earlier ruling excluded contact sports such as football, basketball, wrestling and lacrosse.
Those sports were added to the list on Thursday as being permitted to begin practice sessions next Tuesday.
DeWine also said school property may be used to conduct workouts.
He said it would be up to each school district as to whether facilities would be open for practices beginning next week.
Workouts may include conditioning, such as in the weight room, and skill training, according to the governor.
No scrimmages or games are permitted during this time, it was reported.
The Journal-Tribune talked with Marysville High School head football coach Brent Johnson this morning about the easing of restrictions.
“This was good news we heard on Thursday, but we still don’t know what everything is going to look like,” he said. “It’s going to be up to the school district and local health officials and I haven’t heard any guidelines as of this morning.
“Hopefully, we’ll learn something later today.”
The Monarch coach said that although teams will be allowed to work out starting next Tuesday, he doesn’t expect his squad to begin that soon.
“I think we will need next week to get ready before we open the weight room,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of things to think about as far as going by the book to keep everyone safe.”
Johnson said the logistics of re-opening the weight room could also be problematic.
The coach noted social distancing mandates of six feet will likely be implemented, the number of athletes will likely be limited in the facility at one time and sanitation practices will also be strictly enforced.
“We’re wondering how many guys we’ll be able to run through 15 workout stations during each session,” he said. “Will it be eight, 10 or 20? We just don’t know at this time.”
Johnson feels each workout station will have to be thoroughly sanitized after each use, further slowing down the process.
However, he noted that will absolutely be necessary in order to keep athletes safe.
“We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to get 120 guys through the weight room as safely as possible in phases,” said Johnson. “I can see us eventually starting at 8 a.m. each time and have guys come in throughout the day.”
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