Prep sports fight heat, virus during workouts

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High schools in the area have begun workouts for fall sports.

ANDREAS BUTLER / DAYTONA TIMES

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

The sports world continues to make a comeback during the coronavirus pandemic. It is summer break, but high school sports are also attempting to make a return.

On July 9, the Volusia County School District let its fall sports begin summer workouts. Fall sports include football, girls’ volleyball, cross country, bowling, golf and swimming and diving.

New guidelines

The school district set forth several guidelines to keep everyone safe, including working in small groups at designated times; no access to locker rooms or weight rooms; players bringing their own water with no access to water fountains; voluntary workouts done outside; daily temperature checks; and more.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), which governs most sanctioned sports, also set forth safety suggestions which aren’t as specific as school district measures.

Football coaches in particular are glad to have their kids conditioning for the upcoming season.

“Having the kids back out here is great. They are jumping back in like they haven’t missed a beat. Take into consideration that we didn’t have a spring season,” said Matt Timmons, head coach at Halifax Academy.

‘Back at work’

Seabreeze Head Coach Pat Brown echoed, “It’s great to have the kids back at work. You can see which ones that have been working out and those who have been slacking.”

Even players are glad to be doing athletic activity again.

Halifax quarterback Jarrett Reddin exclaimed, “It feels good to be back out here with my teammates. It’s going to take a while to get back where we were physically, mentally and chemistry-wise.”

Many changes

Players also notice the changes made to keep everyone safe.

Reddin added, “It’s crazy. It’s changing everything that we do. It has changed our workouts. It will change our meetings, practices and games too, as well as how we go to school.”

Coaches are wearing masks, equipment is constantly being wiped down, everyone’s temperatures are taken daily, and more. Also in recent years, the FHSAA has implemented measures to address concussions, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, such as cooling tubs.

Following the coronavirus guidelines and keeping everyone safe is the new challenge.

Practice is different

“The biggest thing is it’s only an hour of conditioning. We’re not using a ball or pads. Usually by now, we would have had four of five seven-on-seven events under our belt. We’re making the best of it,” Brown explained.

Timmons echoed, “Just getting everything done on time. We have to temperature-check everyone before practice. I have to be a coach and nurse at the same time. Also, take into account that we didn’t have spring football.”

Ready for anything

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding all fall sports for high schools, let alone football. Right now the season is set to go on as planned and coaches are keeping an eye on things.

“I’ve been nervous dating back to March when everything shut down. I know this is something that is not just going to go away. You worry about keeping everyone healthy including the kids, coaching staff, support staff and more,” said Timmons.

Brown added, “We are looking forward to starting on July 27. We’re getting prepared until we hear otherwise. If things are pushed back, we’ll adjust.”

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