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MHSAA extends validity of last year’s physicals

The Mississippi High School Activities Association has made the announcement that all physicals conducted on or after April 1, 2019 will be valid until May 31, 2021.

MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said the decision was made alongside the National Federation of State High School Associations, MHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committees and the MHSAA Executive Committee to reduce the strain on medical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Right now with the physicians, a lot of offices are closed, but also they’re just taxed with the burden of this pandemic,” Hinton said.

Hinton said any athletes who feel the need to get a physical may get one, but those who already completed one won’t need another until next year.

This exemption does not apply to students entering 7th grade, students who are new to participation in MHSAA sponsored activities, or students who are entering Mississippi from other states; they will be required to get a pre-participation exam.

The MHSAA has set June 1 as the date activities can resume, although it is subject to change depending on what restrictions are loosened and how the pandemic is being handled within the state. Uncertainty abounds and it’s unclear what the summer period will look like for athletic programs, but Hinton said even amidst the unpredictable future the MHSAA and other committees are hard at work preparing for every eventuality.

“We’re all working together and looking at each other’s documents to form a document of guidelines for any type of return to school activities in the summer time or in the fall,” Hinton said.

Things like a restriction on the number of fans, delay of certain schedules and other changes may be made to allow the resumption of sports in a safe manner.

Each state is in a different situation when it comes to responding to the pandemic, which means each high school athletic association is presented with unique challenges.

Hinton said that at the end of the day any decision made would be in the best interest of Mississippians.

“We’ve talked to other states’ high school associations, but they’re different than us. We have to look into what situation best fits our schools and our kids,” Hinton said.

The status of the pandemic and its effects change constantly, so the MHSAA will continue to monitor the situation.

The organization is taking it week-by-week and using available information to determine the best route forward.

“Everybody is trying to see what fits best for their kids, their seasons and start dates while again keeping safety the first and foremost highest priority. Who knows? Each week brings something different,” Hinton said.

Regardless of what the MHSAA says, if schools and their facilities remain closed during the summer then the possibility of summer activities will be low. However, with restrictions loosening there is hope that June 1 will serve as the official start date of summer activities. “Hopefully summer activities at schools can return to normal and do what they normally do, and the MHSAA will continue to monitor the situation,” Hinton said.