DUNWOODY, Ga. — The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on high school football.
Now, we’re hearing from a metro coach who is worried about keeping his players safe after he got sick with the coronavirus.
Milton High School head football coach Adam Clack said he was worried about spreading the virus to his players.
But he told Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein that he’s proud of the way his team is wearing masks and socially distancing so hopefully they don’t have to go through what he did.
Clack said he started feeling sick the week of July 4 and tested positive for COVID-19.
“I started kind of getting some body aches, kind of flu-like symptoms I guess you’d say,” Clack said. “I lost my taste completely for like five days. That was probably the worst part.”
After spending two weeks in quarantine, he’s now back at work. But he’s not the only one who’s missed time on the field. Two of his players have tested positive.
“Of those five screen-outs, one came back positive. And then another, another situation where somebody was getting tested for a family member coming into town symptom-free, and it came back positive,” Clack said.
According to the Georgia High School Association since June 1, there have been 655 cases of COVID-19 out of more than 300,000 athletes.
Six out of Georgia’s 427 high school football teams canceled practice this week including Lakeside High in DeKalb County.
Infectious disease expert Zachary Binney from Emory University is recommending punting on this season.
“Maybe you could swap out tackle football for flag football, take steps to reduce the risk,” Binney said.
The GHSA issued guidelines on everything from social distancing to sanitizing the equipment to protect athletes.
“(Everything from) going into the locker rooms, setting up a process where you can use social distancing as well, you may have to dress in stages, how you sanitize the locker rooms,” said GHSA executive director Robin Hines.
Clack told Klein that Fulton County is going above and beyond GHSA’s recommendations.
“We’ve mandated masks now within our program. Anytime indoors,” Clack said.
In Hall County, 21 athletes have tested positive for the virus including seven football players. Coaches are now screening them for symptoms.
“They go through temperature checks, a list of questions, and a health questionnaire about symptoms,” said Stan Lewis with Hall County Schools. “With the extra effort there is hope that we can have a full high school football season.”
“I remain cautiously optimistic,” Hines said about the season.
DeKalb County Schools released a statement Wednesday night about the practice cancelations at Lakeside High, saying:
“Out of an abundance of caution, practice at Lakeside High School was temporarily suspended.
Dekalb County School District continues to monitor data and follow the guidance from the CDC, Department of Public Health and DeKalb Board of Health regarding ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The safety of students and staff remains a priority.”
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