HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The environment is different but the expectations remain the same.
“Thirty minutes into the workout, I think they realized all of the pushups and ladder drills were not the same as throwing weights around,” said Armwood High School’s head football coach Evan Davis.
Davis said it with a smile. His football players, like the other athletes across the country, have been home during the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of them did not have access to any significant weights but, in accordance with the Summer Participation Plan in Hillsborough County, they powered through their first day of strength training on campus on Monday.
The “weight room” had been built on a section of pavement between the football facility and the track. The county is not allowing any of the athletes to utilize any indoor facilities.
“Bringing the weights outside,” said Davis, “that was a big deal lifting, I think it was 12 45-pound plates, and carrying them outside myself and everything because I am the only one allowed into the building to bring them outside.”
He divided the players into three groups. Those groups, including the coaches, cannot exceed 20 individuals. The groups will not be shuffled from day to day in an effort to limit the amount of exposure. The equipment will be sanitized regularly too.
Davis said by Monday morning, 23 players had been cleared to participate in the workouts but those 23 players are a mix of varsity and junior varsity players.
How is a player “cleared” to join his teammates?
Davis said the general paperwork and the questionnaire specific to COVID-19 must be completed prior to any interaction with teammates and coaches.
“Communicating has not been the easiest piece with all of the online paperwork but we made the best of it,” said Davis. “I have a great administration that has helped me. My AD and my principal have been very supportive, flexible, checking paperwork so, for how hard it is, I am very fortunate to be with this group.”
He said he is excited to embark on this journey with his staff and his players but he also admitted he is nervous about it.
“I was nervous because everything is brand new,” he said. “Yes, we are back to working out but it is not the way we have been working out in the past so just making sure kids are here on time, getting in and leaving on time, getting weights out here, and organizing coaches and paperwork and cleaning are all hurdles we have to jump through but we are excited to be here. Only my wife is a little more excited to get me out of the house, I think, but we are extremely excited to get out here. Hopefully, this is day one of the whole rest of the year getting back to a little bit of normalcy for us but we have to be very conscious of doing the right stuff now to make sure we do not jeopardize the future.”
The county hopes to begin Phase 2 of the Summer Participation Plan on June 29 but it advises the plan is a “fluid plan that can change based on CDC guidelines and the spread or the containment of COVID-19.”
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