Athletic trainers help North Carolina high schools return to sports

Ensuring high school sports are COVID safe

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Some high school student-athletes will return to practice in the next two weeks after the North Carolina High School Athletic Association delayed the start of athletics due to COVID-19.

The cancellation of sports at the beginning of the pandemic left athletic trainers without athletes to care for. Athletic trainers at Atrium Health shifted gears and began helping at testing sites and in the hospitals.

As discussions to bring sports back safely began, Atrium Health Manager and Athletic Trainer Leigh Ann Caldwell says Atrium Health’s infectious disease specialists were consulted by the NCHSAA to create and amend protocols to ensure athlete safety.

The NCHSAA released a Modified Guidelines and Resources for the 2020-2021 athletic year with COVID-19 in mind.

“For an example, a lightning policy. Before COVID we would enforce a lightning policy, pull everyone off the field and get them in a safe location. But right now, you can’t take 100 kids off the field and put them in a gym right now,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell says Atrium Health athletic trainers are working with high school and collegiate partners to ensure student-athletes follow social distancing, mask requirements, and hand washing as much as possible when appropriate.

Cross Country and volleyball teams are the first high school athletic teams to return to play in North Carolina. Practice can begin November 4.

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