Texas A&M University director of athletic training Dan Jacobi cautions against rushing to make football's return a reality, but not just for the obvious reason of a deadly pandemic still causing widespread illness and death.
Jacobi told The Dallas Morning News that players stand to face increased injury risk if a 2020 season were to be staged in haste. Instead of enjoying access to the weight room either on campus, at a local gym or even at their former high school, players are now trying to cobble together makeshift workout areas at home.
“For the most part our athletes have limited access to stay in shape,” Jacobi said. “From my standpoint, from a medical standpoint, I think we have to be prepared for that whenever we get back on campus.
“This will probably be different than the normal student-athlete who comes back off of a break we’re used to. I think we’re really going to have to assess readiness when they get back on campus and where they are as a team.”
Jacobi said key factors in player evaluation will be determining the floor and ceiling of each athlete’s performance, as well as the time needed get up to speed physically. “If you try to rush that too much, that increases injury rates and puts our student-athletes at risk,” Jacobi said. “If we don’t do enough to get them ready, that leaves them predisposed to more injuries in the season.”
Jacobi told the Morning News that he thinks most of the parameters for a return to practice will come from either the NCAA or conferences, as opposed to individual schools. That could even include required COVID-19 testing for players upon their return to school and in practice.
“I think that’s something we’re going to have evaluate for sure," he said. "I don’t know if that decision will be left up to the institution, but I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility.”