Dr. Randy Wroble Discusses the Return of High School Sports Amid COVID-19
As high school sports make their return this month, Dr. Randy Wroble, Orthopedic ONE Sports Medicine specialist and chairman of the OHSAA’s Joint Advisory Committee on Sports Medicine weighs in on which sports may be most susceptible, as well as concerns about asymptomatic athletes spreading the virus.
A fan favorite fall sport across the state, football is under quite a microscope, mainly due to the uncertainty and the close contact of the sport. “No one has played football yet during COVID-19, so there’s really no data to refer to,” Wroble states. “The obvious risk with football is that the kids are in close proximity, breathing on each other. Offensive and defensive linemen are virtually face to face at the snap and are engaged for several seconds, so they’re the highest risk group. While it might be cost prohibitive for some schools, a plastic face shield — at least for the linemen — would be helpful.”
On the other hand, Dr. Wroble does not feel that soccer poses as much of a risk since any close contact between players is typically brief. “Two players going up for a header might be a risk, but they’re only there for a fraction of a second,” he said. “The big factor to consider is distance multiplied by time.”
While Dr. Wroble stressed that the odds of youth athletes having serious complications should they contract COVID-19 are minimal, the real concern lies with these athletes spreading the virus, should they contract it and not show any symptoms. “Some kids think they’re immune to this, but make no mistake about it: Coaches and athletic trainers are taking this very seriously. They don’t want to mess with it or have it potentially wreck their season.”
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