Central Ala. high school athletes return to practice with new guidelines

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 2:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s been 78 days since athletes were last on campus, and when they returned to practice Monday morning, players were excited to finally reunite with their teammates, saying it was like Christmas morning.

The scene at Mountain Brook football practice was unlike anything the players had ever experienced before. Every player had to sign in and get their temperature checked before stepping onto the field.

“I’m ready, I think we’re all ready to get out here and ready to practice with our team,” said Calvin Wilbanks, a linebacker for Mountain Brook.

According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, players within six feet of one another are required to wear a mask, and the players said they’re used to it by now.

“They do this everywhere now. I mean out here on the field, it’s the same as it is anywhere else,” Wilbanks added.

It may have been the first day back at practice since March, but Head Coach Chris Yeager didn’t waste any time testing his players’ strength and conditioning. “We have 138 players, and 138 passed, which lets me know they’ve been working out at home and doing their job,” Yeager said.

Because there was no spring practice, Yeager is in “hurry up” mode to get to know his players since they missed that time.

“So they come in today and we’ve got questions about our team that we need to get answered, we have to learn those guys really quickly, we have 78 days until we’re in game week,” said Yeager.

Just down the road, Hoover was also back on the practice field Monday. Although practice was closed to the media, Coach Josh Niblett was excited for his team to be back together.

“For us to have what we have, the numbers were awesome, kids were excited, coaches were excited, everyone is just excited to be back together. We are treating practice like no one worked out, so everyone’s on the same page. It will take a couple of days of adjusting to the new protocols,” Niblett said.

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