FNF Coaches Talk: UIL could stop football, Healthy Together app for tracking symptoms, mental health risks of losing football

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coach! We’ve got some good stories for you.

1. UIL could stop season if COVID protocols are not followed (Dallas Morning News)

We’ve been wondering how you can force football fans to wear masks once they’re in the stadium. Well, here’s one way.

The University Interscholastic League in Texas is ramping up its efforts to get spectators to follow COVID-19 guidelines at games by threatening sanctions for those who don’t comply. The state’s governing body for public schools, which said sanctions could come via local UIL district executive committees and/or the UIL state executive committee, also hinted at the possibility of shutting down sports if its protocols aren’t followed.

The messaging comes after videos and photos were posted on social media from season-opening football games in Class 4A and below last week that showed fans neither wearing masks in the stands nor practicing proper social distancing.

The UIL released updated COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines Tuesday and sent an email to superintendents across the state that said adhering to those protocols is “critical.” Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have announced that they aren’t playing football this fall, and the UIL said in its email that “for students to have the opportunity to continue to compete in UIL activities this school year, we all must remain diligent in following these guidelines.”

Check out the story about the UIL threatening to cancel the season.

What repercussion can you offer fans who don’t comply with recommendations or regulations?

2. Texas school using Healthy Together app to track COVID symptoms (KIII TV)

This might be something worth considering for coaches. Just a quick Twitter search shows that many schools — at the high school and college levels — are using this app.

High school athletes at Saint John Paul II in Corpus Christi are using the app, ‘Healthy Together.’ The app asks a series of questions like how they feel, and if they are experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus. Those results are then checked by the team’s coaching staff before being allowed into the stadium.

Athletic Director Andrew Leon said his number one priority is to keep his players healthy.

“It’s hard to get teenage kids to do certain things, I think they know what is at stake, and they are willing to doing whatever they can to play this year. They are willing to make the sacrifice,” said Leon.

Check out the story on the Texas team using the Healthy Together app to track player symptoms.

What are you doing to ensure your players don’t report to practice with COVID symptoms.

3. ‘This is a scary feeling’: High school athletes, mental health, COVID and how to get help (Indianapolis Star)

There’s been no shortage of stories written about the physical impacts of the coronavirus, and whether the potential cost of playing high school sports this fall is worth it.

But what about the cost of not playing?

“It’s almost like we have the (physical) health concerns and then the mental health concerns as two separate things, when really they go hand in hand,” said Amanda Votaw, manager of school-based services for Aspire Indiana Health.
“We’re wired for connection. I think the biggest thing is when we have to socially distance, we’re losing that connection. When I think about sports in general, those teammates are like family. They work really hard together. When they’re not able to be together, that does impact their mental health.”

For many high schoolers, their sport can be their identity. Take away their identity, and dangerous patterns can settle in.

Nearly 850 Indiana high school athletes participated in a study conducted by Timothy McGuine of the University of Wisconsin analyzing the effect of school closures and sports cancellations on mental health. Results showed that 36% of those surveyed reported moderate or severe anxiety and 65% reported symptoms of depression.

What are you doing to help your players through the mental challenges of the pandemic? Is there anything you’d recommend to other coaches?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk