HOOVER, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s week three of high school football workouts and players are still adjusting to the new AHSAA COVID-19 guidelines at practice.
The summer heat has always been a concern for football teams across the nation, but when you add that on top of now wearing a face mask under a helmet at practice due to COVID-19, it can be hard to breathe.
This is the first week Hoover High School started wearing helmets at practice, and wide receiver Malik Thomas says it’s been an adjustment wearing that and a face mask.
“It’s kind of tough wearing a mask because it’s hard to breathe, especially when you get sweaty because the mask gets real thick,” the Hoover wide receiver said.
Because of the extra layer of protection, Hoover has incorporated extra water breaks at practice to help players catch their breath.
“We’re pretty up tempo at practice, our kids are pretty conditioned for that and they’ve handled that real well, but we keep a close eye out on them also,” said Hoover Head Coach Josh Niblett.
According to the AHSAA guidelines, between drills, players are allowed to pull down their mask if they’re social distancing.
“Right after I finish, I normally take it down, but I have to stand six feet away from each other, and we make sure we are all spread out in case someone forgets to put it up,” Thomas added.
Hoover has had no issues so far with players and COVID-19 on the field, but wearing a face mask under their helmet could be the new reality this fall if they want to play this season.
“We’ll do whatever we’re asked to do, we’ll follow the protocols because these kids want to play football, and if that means wearing a mask, our kids will wear a mask,” Niblett added.
The AHSAA and their Fall Sports Committee will hold another meeting in early July to discuss the current guidelines and recommend any changes.