High school football players can suit up in full pads – and mask – again in Michigan

Posted at 6:47 AM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 07:01:36-04

(WXYZ) — High school football players can once again suit up in full pads Thursday.

This comes after a reversal from the state’s High School Athletic Association that had suspended football until the spring.

Governor Whitmer signed an executive order late Wednesday requiring face coverings for organized sports.

“We’re just happy to get out here," said one Grosse Pointe football player. "I mean we’ve been in on our house for five, six months now we’re hungry, we’re ready to get out.”

High school football players around the state are finally suiting up again — preparing for their shortened six-game season, after a change of course by the MHSAA to allow the sport to resume this fall, that reversal going against recommendations from the governor’s office.

“We know what it’s going to take to stay safe," said Gov. Whitmer. "We’ve got to trust now that we have this information that people are going to use it. We think that at the local level you can make this decision. We encourage you to go conservatively and be very careful.”

Under the new executive order, face coverings are mandatory for all organized sports when players can’t maintain six feet of social distance. This includes during training, practice and games.

The decision has sparked a lot of heated reactions and more than a thousand comments, mostly negative, on the WXYZ Facebook page.

Karen writes “no one is obeying,” while Dina writes “how are kids supposed to run up and down with the field with masks on?”

Before the mask order was on the books, we caught up with players and coaches around metro Detroit eager to hit the field.

“The first play of the game, the end of the game, it’s just going to be all special," said a Clintondale player.

“The game of football is going to normal. Tackling, blocking, and it’s really huge mentally for these kids to get back to something they’re used to," said a Grosse Pointe coach.

So, does the mask requirement apply to all sports across the board?

No, not swimming for obvious reasons. But that was the only sport specifically mentioned that has an exception.

Volleyball and soccer will both have mask requirements.

The state health department reiterated Wednesday that it recommends against contact sports right now in general, citing 30 reported outbreaks associated with sports clubs, teams and athletic facilities.

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Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

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