Maine Principals’ Association sports medicine committee approves of fall sports season

Thu, 08/27/2020 - 8:15am

AUGUSTA — The sports medicine committee for the Maine Principals’ Association provided the green light for fall sports to be played this upcoming season with some modifications in place. 

Fall sports in the Midcoast include cross country, golf, football, field hockey and soccer. Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport also sponsors a mountain biking team. 

The recommendation now heads to the MPA Interscholastic Management Committee, who has final say in whether fall sports are played. That committee will meet Thursday, Aug. 27. 

Last week, MPA Executive Director of Interscholastic Division Michael Burnham noted the organization was presented with an “unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 virus.” 

Throughout the month of August, there has been much debate on whether the MPA should follow guidelines established by the Maine Department of Education for physical education classes or guidelines established by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development for community gatherings.

On top of the debate about what guidelines the MPA should be following for sports, there has been debate about if all fall sports should be played with some sports, especially football, being considered more high-risk for possible COVID-19 transmission.

The MPA, including the MPA Sports Medicine Committee and individual sport committees, worked cooperatively with the Maine Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Economic Community Development and the Maine CDC to determine appropriate health guidelines. The National Federation of State High School Associations, the national governing body for high school athletics, also provided support and guidance. 

During a Wednesday meeting, the MPA Sports Medicine Committee recommended all fall sports be played with added safety guidelines adopted. 

The committee approved a set of safety guidelines presented to the panel by each of the individual committees for each fall sport. 

The committee also provided recommendations on what risk level for potential COVID-19 transmission each fall sport should be classified as, which, in some states, has determined when certain sports could start playing. 

The committee recommended classifying golf and cross country as low-risk, soccer as moderate-risk and football as high-risk.