SEC seeks guidance on return to sports from medical task force
Photo courtesy of SECsports.com/SEC Staff

The Southeastern Conference is looking to its medical experts for guidance as it attempts to map out a plan for the eventual return of sports. 

The ‘Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force’, comprised of medical professionals from each of the 14 universities in the conference, has been meeting via video since April. 

“As the Southeastern Conference Office continues to closely monitor and learn about COVID-19 and associated public health information, this task force of medical professionals has begun to provide the guidance necessary to make decisions related to the return to athletics activities for SEC student-athletes and to assist in our collaboration with colleague conferences in determining a safe return to athletics competition,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “The expertise of these medical professionals is playing an important role in our continuing focus on the health and well-being of SEC student-athletes.”

The SEC Office outlined the duties of the task force in a news release this morning.

“The task force is responsible for identifying recommended protocols and best practices for guiding the safe return to in-person on-campus meetings, individual workouts, out-of-season activities and skill instruction, and practice activities for student-athletes and coaches; identifying the desired amount of practice and training time required to safely acclimate student-athletes into competition; and identifying opportunities for a return to competition, including considerations for student-athletes, administrators, support staff, officials and fans.”

Members of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force:

  • Dr. Jimmy Robinson, University of Alabama-Head Team Physician and Medical Director
  • Dr. Chris Arnold, University of Arkansas, Orthopedic Surgeon/Team Physician
  • Dr. Mike Goodlett, Auburn University, Chief Medical Officer/Team Physician
  • Dr. Jay Clugston, University of Florida, Team Physician
  • Ron Courson, University of Georgia, Senior Associate. Athletics Director/Sports Medicine
  • Jim Madaleno, University of Kentucky, Executive Associate Athletics Director/Sports Medicine and Performance
  • Dr. Catherine O’Neal, LSUHSC Assistant Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases
  • Dr. Marshall Crowther, University of Mississippi, Medical Director/Sports Medicine Physician
  • Dr. Cliff Story, Mississippi State University, Director of University Health Services
  • Dr. Stevan Whitt, University of Missouri, Associate Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Infectious Diseases; Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Chief Clinical Officer
  • Dr. Zoë Foster, University of South Carolina, Program Director, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship
  • Dr. Chris Klenck, University of Tennessee, Head Team Physician • Dr. Shawn Gibbs, Texas A&M University, Dean of School of Public Health
  • Dr. Warne Fitch, Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Professor of Orthopedics

All in-person athletics activities, including team and individual workouts, are currently suspended through at least May 31st. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of all spring sports and many are hoping that the beginning of the college football season will not be affected. 

Recently, Ole Miss AD Keith Carter stated that student-athletes likely need to be back on campus by July 1st to keep things on track for the fall.

“That July 1st date is kind of standing out. If we get too far past that it’s going to be hard maybe to start on time,” Carter said in late April. 

Mississippi State President Mark Keenum released a statement Wednesday expressing that MSU is planning on welcoming students back to campus in the fall.