EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – Today was the first day of high school football practice across the state and safety is coming first in foremost this year more than any other.
It’s going to be a season unlike any other in high school athletics but Emporia High is doing everything they can to make sure players stay safe, masks on at all times when helmets are off and a new protective cover on helmets to help on the field. Sports are all about making adjustments, this year is the perfect example.
“Our kids are great, if we tell them to put on a hazmat suit to play, they put on a hazmat suit, they just want to play ball,” head coach Corby Milleson said.
Its going to take commitment like that across the state to get through this season, and ehs is doing their part to make sure they compete.
“We’re just hoping that we can stay safe and our opponents stay healthy and we can get some games in and have some semblance of what a normal year could possibly be,” Milleson said.
New normal may be the word now, from spaced stretching, to individual water, and of course masks in abundance. But for the seniors, it’s a small sacrifice to get back on the field
“After not knowing if I was going to put on a helmet here ever again, it’s awesome. Feel lucky, blessed,” EHS senior Charles Snyder said.
“It’s amazing, one more time to play with these guys, I don’t want to leaving not knowing what could have happened” another EHS senior, Camden Kirmer, added.
EHS is also one of the few schools with splash guards, plastic masks covering the face area on the helmet. Nothing but positive reviews so far on them.
“It doesn’t affect me at all, doesn’t mess with breathing or anything,” Snyder said.
“It’s down below so it doesn’t really affect your vision either, I like it,” Kirmer said.
On top of the physical health, getting back out is good for the mental, and coach Milleson realizes that because he can see it in his own home
“For me though, to have my own son out here, the mental aspect of seeing him being able to participate in something and be with his friends versus the way he was in March and April is night and day and I’d rather take the risk out here than the risk of not doing anything.
The splash guards cost the program around $13 dollars for each three pack of the protective plastic and they’ve been proven to be durable so far — but are interchangeable it needed. The program shifted it’s fundraising efforts this year to afford them as well as neck gaiters for every player.
Preparation has it’s cost, but it could be the thing that allows this series to be completed.