UGASports - Georgia lays out initial plans
football Edit

Georgia lays out initial plans

Georgia Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Ron Courson Friday laid out the university’s initial plans following the earlier announcement by the SEC that the league would allow athletes back on campus for voluntary workouts starting June 8.

Included among the steps: word that COVID tests will be given to all student athletes.

According to the email, plans are still being made to determine when the players will actually return prior to the June 8 date.

Per Courson:

• “First and foremost, our focus is on health and safety. We are taking a collaborative approach that involves public health, community health care system, sports medicine, sports performance, sports nutrition, and sport coaches working together to develop a plan and ensure each student-athlete has an individualized plan for return."

• “We will conduct COVID testing and perform medical evaluations on all student-athletes, and they must be medically cleared prior to any physical activity. We will identify any student-athletes and staff who may be more vulnerable due to existing health conditions, and ensure that we have an individualized plan of care for their safe return to sport or work based upon medical guidance.”

• “Our student-athletes have had an unprecedented lay-off from sports, and we have to be smart about how we progress back to activity during this transition period. Our strength and conditioning return-to-sport plan will be based on national consensus guidelines developed by a joint task force, with representatives from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. It involves starting with a reduced volume of work and modified work-rest ratios with a gradual increase, allowing the student-athletes to acclimate to both the environment with heat and humidity, as well as building up exercise tolerance."

• “We will have developed a detailed plan to utilize the strength and conditioning facilities that follows the State of Georgia Executive order for re-opening of exercise facilities, including screening procedures, small groups using social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.”

Although plans are still being made for exactly when student-athletes will begin returning to campus, head coach Kirby Smart indicated it won’t be long.

“We’re excited to now know when players can begin returning to campus. We’ll be coordinating our efforts with the medical staff, keeping the primary focus on health and safety of our student-athletes and those working directly with them during this time,” Smart said. “We’ll be working in the coming days on finalizing plans to implement the return of our players. I’m sure they are looking forward to returning and to begin working toward what we hope is a regular season in the Fall.”

Earlier Friday, the presidents and chancellors representing the 14 SEC schools voted Friday to start allowing athletes back on campus for voluntary workouts beginning June 8.This comes two days after the NCAA Division I Council agreed to lift the moratorium on athletics due to COVID-19 as it pertains to on-campus-activities.

According to a release from the SEC, those activities may resume on campuses, at the discretion of each university, but only under strict supervision of designated university personnel, and safety guidelines developed by each institution.

“I’m sure everyone is pleased to now have direction from both the NCAA and the SEC on some parameters for bringing student-athletes back to campus in cooperation with the University System of Georgia,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “It’s only the first step, and there are many details still to be determined on every campus. We’ll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by Ron Courson. Guidelines and enhanced health and safety measures will be followed to the letter. Again, this is only the first step, with further details and plans coming over the next several days and weeks.”

Kirby Smart said plans are being finalized for when players can start returning.
Kirby Smart said plans are being finalized for when players can start returning. (Radi Nabulsi)