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Trainers at PRCC working to keep athletes healthy and safe

Practices and workouts have started back up at Pearl River Community College and the school’s trainers are looking to limit the spread of COVID-19 while still providing the necessary treatment options.

PRCC Athletic Trainer Cody Shaw said work began again Aug. 12 to prepare for the athletes’ arrival on Aug. 14.

Procedures were established to help ensure the athletes’ safety and limit the spread of COVID-19 as the players began using PRCC’s facilities again.

A big focus has been the wearing of masks and making sure athletes understand the importance of preventative strategies.

Whether it be during a team meeting or training room hours receiving treatment, athletes are required to wear masks.

Other health protocols in place include social distancing, temperature checks of every athlete before they enter an athletic facility and a set of COVID-19 questions each athlete has to answer on a daily basis.

The questions are available to players online, and Shaw said if a response regarding potential exposure to the virus or possible COVID-19 symptoms is positive then that athlete isn’t allowed to participate in practice and the coach is notified immediately.

The nature of the virus means the trainers and athletic programs have had to work together to ensure player safety.

“It’s gotten a lot tougher. It’s obviously pretty serious and every little thing that we can do to decrease the risk of spread we’re doing,” Shaw said.

Shaw said meetings were held with all the athletes and coaches to ensure everyone understood what guidelines were in place and how to go about practicing and working out in a safe manner.

It’s important the athletes understand how important the preventative measures are, because if an outbreak were to occur, it may put future plans of having workouts or a season in jeopardy.

“We preach to do the little things now to be able to have a season. It’s tough on us too because we’ve had to change up the way we do things,” Shaw said.

Even precautions like giving each athlete their own water bottle have taken place because normal hydration systems aren’t feasible, as they don’t allow for social distancing.

However, Shaw said returning to campus and working out gave the players and coaches some sense of normalcy.

Now it’s a matter of walking the fine line between chasing that normalcy and still staying wary of COVID-19 and its effects.

“(There’s) a little excitement because we’re finally on campus trying to do what we’ve always done, but there’s also nervousness. I’m nervous and I have a baby at home. I don’t want to contract it from the athletes, and (the trainers) don’t want to spread it to the athletes either,” Shaw said.