4 Questions with Marietta director of sports medicine Jeff Hopp

4 Questions with Marietta director of sports medicine Jeff Hopp

2. The committee has met for a number of weeks now, often with significant news announced later that day or the next by Robin Hines, the GHSA’s executive director. What are those meetings like? Have there been times when the group was far apart on how to proceed, or how fast or how cautiously to open? “The SMAC has met virtually on a weekly basis for the last few months. We are looking at data from the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health and other sources as well as the latest research. We are hearing from members of the committee on what is happening at their facilities or schools. GHSA also updates us on what is being reported from all the member schools. With that many people (about 15) from all over the state on the committee, there are always differing opinions. However, we all have the same goal of keeping athletes, coaches and everyone else involved safe while trying to determine if sports can be played. We also know that there is no one right answer that will work for the entire state of Georgia as COVID-19 is impacting areas of the state differently. As a result, some schools or school systems may be ready to play, others may not.”

3. What are your biggest concerns about playing football in this pandemic? “Being realistic, every school in the state is going to be impacted by COVID-19 at some point if they haven’t already. That being said, my biggest concern is whether we can do enough to mitigate the risks of COVID to make football, and other fall sports, safe. That goes beyond just the athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and other team staff – to game-day staff, game officials and spectators. It also includes the families of everyone involved, as well. Although we will not be able to eliminate every risk, if everyone is willing to do their part to ensure it is as safe possible, I do believe fall sports can continue.”

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