As of right now, High School Football is set to kickoff this fall.
County mandates have pushed back valley-wide athletics until early or late September, which includes competition for high school and collegiate athletics. Despite having over a month to prepare for the season, valley sports may still have plenty of hoops to jump through this fall, according to Harlingen Medical Center Physician Dr. Sujan Gogu.
“The problem we’re going to run into is competing against other school districts in the valley,” Dr. Gogu said on a zoom call Friday afternoon. “I think the socially distant sports should probably take preference in the fall.”
Dr. Gogu is a triple-board certified physician in family, sport and pain medicine. He used his expertise to develop a presentation on how sports can return to the valley safely.
The plans (seen above) were originally presented to Weslaco ISD, but have since circulated around the valley.
Dr. Gogu recommends switching seasons to allow non-contact sports to compete in the fall. These sports would include tennis, track and field, baseball, softball, etc.
Once more resources are made available to the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Gogu expects contact sports like football, soccer, volleyball and basketball to compete in the spring.
Dr. Gogu specifically points to the need for antigen tests, or “rapid testing,” which would allow athletes to receive results in less than 15 minutes on average. This time frame would allow an entire basketball team to be tested before tip-off to ensure the safety of those competing, Dr. Gogu pointed out.
Ultimately, Dr. Gogu stressed the importance of remaining active during quarantine. If done correctly, he says sports will only have a positive impact on students if they are able to return.
“We need to open safely,” Dr. Gogu stressed. “But, we need to not lose site of the fact that we lose a lot if we don’t have athletics.”