(5-28-20) In a tweet yesterday OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said that student-athletes will need a new physical to participate in athletics this coming school year.
Two neighboring states have already waived physicals for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Both Indiana and Michigan made the announcements earlier and reasons why they decided to move in that direction.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) is allowing athletes to count their 2019-20 physicals towards the 2020-21 athletic season, meaning that athletes do not have to get a new physical to play sports in 2020-21. The ruling applies to middle school and high school athletes.
At their May 8th board meeting the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) released the following details on physicals.
The Council also took action on a number of MHSAA Handbook regulations requiring adjustment because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption it has caused to Michigan high school athletics. Notably, the Council voted to waive the 2020-21 pre-participation physical exam requirement for athletes who received one during the 2019-20 school year, although they are still required to fill out and sign the MHSAA Annual Sports Health Questionnaire.
In an April 2020 release the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recommended a one-year extension on physicals due to the pandemic.
We believe that this unprecedented event allows for state associations to be flexible in their current requirements, while maintaining a balance between student safety,the benefits of athletic participation, and easing the burden on local primary care providers. Therefore, we suggest that you consider the following:
1. Follow the laws for your state. We recommend discussion with state health department and state medical associations prior to making a final decision on how best to approach this issue. Some states may not be able to make any changes without approval of their state legislature.
2. If needed, and absent indications to the contrary, we recommend a one-year extension for any student who has a PPE “sports physical that “expires” before or during the 2020-21 academic year.
3. Parents and guardians should be informed that extending the duration between PPEs is a deviation from standard of care, but given the already existing variation among states when there isn’t evidence to the contrary, we believe this change in practice on balance, would permit the greatest overall health benefit from the allocation of scarce medical resources.
4. Students who have not had a PPE, such as incoming freshmen and students who are first time participants in athletics, should still be required to have a PPE prior to athletic participation. Therefore, parents and guardians should be informed of the need to obtain a PPE now, in order to get this accomplished in the coming months. 5.We encourage allowing schools toaccept documented PPEs from out of state transfer students. While there is variation among forms, there is not enough evidence that thisvariation significantly impacts the effectiveness of the PPE.