TSSAA allows high schools to resume contact sports

Watch: TSSAA allows high schools to resume contact sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This week, Governor Bill Lee signed off on allowing full-contact practices for fall sports. This also means the season will start on time.

Still, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Christian Brothers football coach Thomas McDaniel says he has mixed emotions.

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“If you’re trying to be as transparent as possible I think we have a pretty insurmountable task to tackle,” McDaniel said.

Teams statewide know they have a challenge on their hands.

“I have a lot of genuine concerns,” McDaniel said. “Because at the end of the day, you look at the numbers in Memphis, you look at the numbers in Nashville and you look at the scenario that happened with Major League Baseball, and it’s tricky.”

McDaniel, who doubles as president of the Tennessee Football Coaches Association, said he understands the excitement across the state.

But, he says there are questions. What happens if players test positive for COVID-19? What is the likelihood of finishing the season?

“It’s not about when or how we start,” he said. “I want to know how we finish. Can we answer that? No, but I’d like to have a little more clarity on what is the protocol and plans and procedures to give us the best shot at finishing.”

McDaniel said his staff is developing practice structures to limit close contact periods, making sure equipment is wiped down constantly and learning about contact tracing and quarantine procedures.

He said players have a responsibility as well once they’re outside school confines. 

“Who are you riding in the car with?,” he said. “Are you literally taking it serious about wearing a mask when you’re not at school and not at practice? Who you allow to come in your house? These are all things that are out of control when they’re not in the school environment.”

For now, McDaniel said his players have hope.

However, he still understands during a pandemic, plans can change.  

“I want the kids to have hope and that’s what we’ve been kind of preaching the whole time,” he said. “Give them hope that we have a chance and that hope has turned into a reality now. I don’t want to have that taken away from them.”