NFHS executive director: “Patience needed for restarting sports”

The National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) executive director has penned another column, urging for patience as communities begin to reopen its doors to athletics.

Dr. Karissa Niehoff, in her second year of her leadership position, released her column on the NFHS website and pointed out the nuance that is involved with reopening athletics across the country.

“Now, state high school associations are developing timetables and protocols for return of activities in their states. And those guidelines will be different from state to state. This is not a one-size-fits-all plan,” Niehoff wrote. “Depending on the specific circumstances of a state with respect to the containment of the virus, its progression through the various phases of returning to activities could be much different than another state.”

nfhsWhat may be considered a safe time for a school district in Iowa could be an unsafe time for a school district in metropolitan New York.

“We would ask parents and other fans to take action — and that action is patience. The urge to return to normal is understandable, but the path back to where we were three months ago will take time, and that ‘time’ will not happen at the expense of the safety and well-being of everyone involved in high school sports and performing arts programs,” she wrote.

Niehoff released the column as a follow-up to the release of NFHS’s guidance document for resuming high school athletic activities, entitled ‘Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities.’ She noted the ‘non-stop response’ received through mainstream media and social media platforms that came with the first nationwide discussion about the return of high school sports. She also pointed out how some viewed the document as ‘too cautious.’

“The drive of coaches and dreams of parents cannot run ahead of player safety. Last week, a successful high school football coach with three previous state titles was suspended for allegedly holding practices,” she wrote. “And there have been reports of parents considering moving to another state with fewer COVID-19 cases to enhance the chance of their son playing football and earning a college scholarship.”

To read the full column from Dr. Karissa Niehoff from the NFHS website, click here