By Andrew Luberda
Copper Area News
About two weeks ago, the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced a geographical area needed 10 people or fewer per 100,000 test positive for COVID-19 to play games in contact sports such football and soccer. Last week, the AIA, with the support of its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, adjusted the benchmark metric to 75 people or fewer per 100,00.
As a result, it appears soccer and football around the state will begin competition this week and next.
In a press release, the AIA referenced other states that have similar COVID-19 rates to Arizona that are “currently playing football with safeguards put in place by their executive boards.” The AIA believes, after “viewing these games for several weeks” that it can successfully and safely conduct football with this new benchmark.
“Seeing the positive results in other states was a big help to reach this conclusion,” AIA Executive Director Hines said in the statement. “It’s a testament to those associations for putting proper rules in place so football can happen. We have similar numbers and similar safety recommendations as compared to those states.”
Football is the lone remaining fall sport that has not starting game competition. All other sports – golf, cross country, swimming & diving, fall soccer, badminton, and girls volleyball – have met the respective benchmarks to begin competition.
“We have been given the opportunity to compete in football. However, it will take all of us – coaches, players, parents, fans, and administrators – to implement all of the modifications,” Hines added. “This is critical for us to stay on the current track. It is equally as critical that all involved understand the importance of adhering to the guidance of athletic trainers and medical personnel.”
Football is scheduled to commence Sept. 30-Oct. 2.