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The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) continues to loosen restrictions on its member football programs as the start of practice draws closer.

GHSA Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines said in his weekly update Wednesday that players may wear football helmets beginning next week, with one major stipulation. Schools must sanitize helmets before and after each workout. Teams could begin issuing helmets this week so players are ready to go with them Monday.

All other guidance previously given still stands at this point meaning workouts are still limited to 50 individuals (players and coaches) at a time and players are still not allowed to gather in their locker rooms. GHSA has regularly removed restrictions on programs every week or so since voluntary summer workouts were given the green light to begin June 8. The number of people allowed to be present has increased from 20 at the outset to its current number, teams could start practicing with footballs after a couple weeks, and now intra-squad competitions such as 7-on-7s are permitted along with wearing helmets. 

Locally, Baldwin High School’s football team has yet to report. Head coach Jesse Hicks first said he would bring his players in following the dead week, but has pushed the date back citing the high level of COVID-19 spread in the community. His guys have, however, been signing on to video conferencing platform Zoom to participate in virtual workouts and position group meetings. 

GHSA officials and their sports medicine advisory council have been meeting weekly, and Hines said Wednesday that discussions concerning the start of football’s acclimatization period have begun. That period starts the week of July 27 and is normally used to get players acclimated to practicing in their pads in the summer heat before the first day of regular practice Aug. 1. 

“More information will be available following next week’s meeting,” Hines said on that subject.

The first week of the GHSA football 2020 regular season is set for Friday, Aug. 21. No word yet on if that date will be adjusted. 

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