Medical task force guides SEC preparation for return to Athletics Activity

Published: May. 14, 2020 at 12:48 PM CDT
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A task force comprised of medical professionals representing the 14 universities of the Southeastern Conference is guiding the SEC as it prepares for membership decisions related to the return of athletics activities, including team gatherings, practices, conditioning and competition.

The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force began meeting by video conference in April and updates from these meetings are provided to SEC Presidents and Chancellors and Athletics Directors at regular intervals. Any policy changes related to return to athletics activity will be approved by the Conference membership.

“As the Southeastern Conference Office continues to closely monitor and learn about COVID-19 and associated public health information, this task force of medical professionals has begun to provide the guidance necessary to make decisions related to the return to athletics activities for SEC student-athletes and to assist in our collaboration with colleague conferences in determining a safe return to athletics competition,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “The expertise of these medical professionals is playing an important role in our continuing focus on the health and well-being of SEC student-athletes.”

The task force is responsible for identifying recommended protocols and best practices for guiding the safe return to in-person on-campus meetings, individual workouts, out-of-season activities and skill instruction, and practice activities for student-athletes and coaches; identifying the desired amount of practice and training time required to safely acclimate student-athletes into competition; and identifying opportunities for a return to competition, including considerations for student-athletes, administrators, support staff, officials and fans.

The SEC has previously enacted proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the virus and protect the health and safety of student-athletes, administrators, officials and fans. To date, actions of the Conference include the cancellation of all athletic contests, including conference and non-conference competition, and SEC Championship events for the remainder of the 2020 spring season. The SEC has also suspended all in-person athletics activities, voluntary or required, including practices, individual and team workouts through at least May 31 (subject to adjustment based upon public health information), and has ceased operation of camps and coaches clinics through at least July 31.

Members of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force:

Dr. Jimmy Robinson, University of Alabama-Head Team Physician and Medical Director

Dr. Chris Arnold, University of Arkansas, Orthopedic Surgeon/Team Physician

Dr. Mike Goodlett, Auburn University, Chief Medical Officer/Team Physician

Dr. Jay Clugston, University of Florida, Team Physician

Ron Courson, University of Georgia, Senior Associate. Athletics Director/Sports Medicine

Jim Madaleno, University of Kentucky, Executive Associate Athletics Director/Sports Medicine and Performance

Dr. Catherine O’Neal, LSUHSC Assistant Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases

Dr. Marshall Crowther, University of Mississippi, Medical Director/Sports Medicine Physician

Dr. Cliff Story, Mississippi State University, Director of University Health Services

Dr. Stevan Whitt, University of Missouri, Associate Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Infectious Diseases; Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Zoë Foster, University of South Carolina, Program Director, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship

Dr. Chris Klenck, University of Tennessee, Head Team Physician

Dr. Shawn Gibbs, Texas A&M University, Dean of School of Public Health

Dr. Warne Fitch, Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Professor of Orthopedics