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Ohio Department of Health updates defines 'contact sports' definition

The Ohio Department of Health has issued a statement clarifying its definition of what constitutes a contact sport.

On Saturday, the Ohio Department of Health extended the expiration date of its Second Amended Order, which "provides guidance for contact sport practices and non-contact sport competitions and contact competition with exceptions."

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Shortly after the Ohio High School Athletic Association took to social media asking for clarification on the ODH's definition of contact sports, the ODH provided just that, issuing of a list of sports included in the order.

Per the Ohio Department of Health, the following sports fall under its definition of "contact sports": football, basketball, rugby, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, hockey, boxing, futsal and martial arts with opponents.

According to the ODH's extended order, these sports have been given permission to begin practices as of August 1, with competition limited to intra-club/squad competition unless the competition is done in compliance with the requirements of Section 10 of the order. Section 10 of the order deals with the monitoring of any potential coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and stipulates that  a "COVID-19 test must be administered to each athlete and team staff member participating in the competition no more than 72 hours prior to the start of the competition and the results must be in hand prior to the start of competition."

The response from the ODH cames after weeks of speculation regarding high school fall sports seasons. On Friday, the OHSAA reaffirmed its plans to move forward with its seasons amid concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Despite the OHSAA's stance and guidance from the ODH, many districts have paused their activities and athletics while waiting to finalize reopening plans for the upcoming academic calendar.