NORFOLK, Va. - After COVID-19 sacked fall football, our area college programs have each announced intentions to hold seasons in the spring. At Norfolk State University, for example, the Spartans hope to play at least six games between February and April. Then, like other local programs, NSU aims to come back and play a normal, full season in the fall of 2021.
To tackle the topic of student-athlete safety, we chat via Zoom with Tyler Nolan, a physical therapist at Sentara's Orthopedics and Sports Performance clinic. He says, even for a Division I athlete, playing two football seasons in one calendar year is calling for a blitz on the body.
"The biggest concern, from our standpoint, is going to be over-training," Nolan told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler Thursday. "With the over-training, the real risk is potential for a season-ending injury - like your ligament tears. Also, it's a contact sport, so there's inherent risk for head injuries. So if a football player has a head injury in the spring, there's a shorter window where if they sustain a second head injury in the fall - that's pretty close proximity. Therefore, there's some potential for some big medical concerns."
Tyler says, even though the season is still months away, programs should start gameplanning now.
"There needs to be constant communication between the coaching staff, medical staff, players and their parents," Nolan suggested. "Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to the goal of the program and if there are any concerns."
Because we may be in a long, dreadful offseason right now, but when the regular season finally arrives - it will be anything but regular.