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Bearcats pause football workouts

Conditioning drills halted for two weeks after player tests positive for COVID-19
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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Leader photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT

The Ruston High School Bearcats began conditioning work on June 8 but have called a two-week stop after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Pictured are players working out on June 9.

Conditioning workouts for Ruston High School’s football team have been sacked by COVID-19.

Bearcats athletics director and head football coach Jerrod Baugh said the Bearcats have suspended football workouts for two weeks after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

Baugh said the player did not attend practices last week after showing symptoms and that after the player was diagnosed with COVID-19 late last week, the RHS staff began monitoring his static workout group in conjunction with guidelines set forth by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and Lincoln Parish Schools.

“We had a kid that tested positive,” Baugh said. “Initially we decided to move on and keep going and give the other kids the opportunity to personally decided how they wanted to handle it. I encouraged them that if they felt it necessary to go get tested themselves.

“It ended up that I had a lot of kids that wanted to get tested for one reason or another, so I told them they needed to go home and talk to their parents or whoever it is they live with and evaluate what their situation is at home. Everyone’s situation is different, and they could have people they live with that have some health issues that makes it mean they need to be more careful than others.”

Over the weekend, Baugh said he kept getting text messages from players who were concerned and felt they should be tested.

“It can take five to seven days to get test results back at times,” Baugh said.

“As many as we ended up with that wanted to go get tested, I just thought it would be in our best interest to give them that chance and give parents time to figure out how they wanted to handle things.

“It will probably happen again and I’m hoping when that happens — if that happens — that everyone will have made a decision to how they want to handle it in the future,” Baugh said.

After working out since June 12, the Bearcats did not do so on Monday as the selfimposed two-week break began. Baugh said he had at least 12 players who were scheduled to get tested Monday and are waiting for results.

“I’m interested to see how that will turn out,” Baugh said. “It seems to be that kids that age are asymptomatic so a bunch could test positive that don’t have symptoms at all. It’s just a decision people have to make personally to see how they want to handle it.”

Baugh said the previous workouts were going well enough that he had wanted to try to ramp them up some this week.

“We were being extra careful with our kids,” Baugh said. “We kept them broken up into groups of no more than 12 and only did activities outside. We didn’t do any weightlifting. The kids were responding well. We were actually going to add weightlifting in this week and were anxious to see how the players were going to handle that.

“This is a learning process for everybody. I hope these two weeks will give everyone a chance to decide how they want to handle it. It’s going to be that way everywhere if we want to move on and play sports and go to school and do all the things that are considered to be part of a regular school year.”

Baugh admitted that the two-week break does cause some concerns for reasons others than COVID-19.

“I am worried about what this does to the timeline and getting the kids in shape and acclimated to the heat in order to be ready to participate in a regular football season,” Baugh said. “If for some reason the two weeks turns into three or four then you’re looking at it being a health risk for the kids not because of coronavirus but just for being in shape and being able to participate in football, period.”