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AHSAA Releases Best Practices for Winter Sports Season

As we draw closer to the winter sports season, the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) has released a guide of best practices for athletic directors and coaches to proceed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 10-page document covers guidance and best practices for the state’s winter sports — basketball, bowling, indoor track, wrestling, among other aspects of winter sports including general education, facilities, ticketing, dealing with officials, and new modifications from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

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Photo: CodPod.com / Creative Commons

Below is a brief synopsis of best practices from the AHSAA in regard to resuming winter sports safely.

General Education

  • The state health order requires players, coaches, officials, and spectators to refrain from congregating within 6 feet of a person from another household except to the extent necessary for players, coaches, and officials to directly participate in the athletic activity. When physical distancing cannot be maintained, facial coverings must be worn.
  • According to the state health order, “organizers of athletic activities shall take reasonable steps, where practicable, to regularly disinfect frequently used items and surfaces.” In addition, “players, coaches, and officials shall not share water coolers, drinking stations, water bottles, cups or other drinking devices” while participating in an athletic activity.

Facilities

  • Venues used to host athletic activities are not subject to a specific capacity limit, but capacity will necessarily be limited by the requirement to maintain proper distancing between spectators from different households.
  • Players, coaches, officials, and spectators shall not congregate within 6 feet of a person from another household except to the extent necessary- and only to the extent necessary- for players, coaches, and officials to directly participate in the athletic activity.” Furthermore, “…spectators shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times while within six feet of a person from another household.”

Basketball

  • To ensure physical distance is maintained, the pregame meetings with officials will take place around the center jump circle. All pregame handshakes between officials and players should be avoided.
  • Postgame sportsmanship meetings should take place without handshakes.
  • Game balls should be cleaned and sanitized throughout the contest as recommended by the ball manufacturer. Suggested ball cleaning methods may be found at the following link: https://bit.ly/3g531et.

Wrestling

  • Individuals non-essential to the match in progress including, but not limited to, players waiting to wrestle, spectators, media, school photographers, etc. are prohibited on the floor or mat.
  • The temperature of all coaches and athletes should be checked before weigh-in.
  • Weigh-in and skin checks should be completed maintaining six-feet between participants and with facial coverings until the face and neck area are checked

To see the rest of the recommendations and best practices from the AHSAA on safely returning to winter sports, click here