Creative solutions from Brophy staff and athletes
April 12, 2020 by Cierra Luna, Arizona State University
Cierra Luna is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Xavier College Preparatory for AZPrep365
High school spring sports may be canceled but Brophy College Preparatory staff and student-athletes are getting creative with at-home learning and workouts.
After Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to close Arizona schools on March 30, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) announced spring sports would also be canceled.
“We didn’t want to make any decision that would be premature,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said. “But in lieu of everything that is going on, the health of our communities, our kids and our families becomes the most important thing.”
The AIA decision came two weeks after the NCAA’s decision to cancel spring sports.
“I was appreciative that the AIA waited until the governor pretty much locked down the state to cancel the rest of the season,” said Bill Woods, Brophy's athletic director.
Woods said coaches are still in contact with athletes but are being mindful of the workouts they can and cannot perform during this time.
“It’s kind of a tightrope that you walk because most of the sports are very difficult to practice on your own,” Woods said.
Joe Denk, strength and conditioning coach at Brophy, is using an app called TrainHeroic to build online workouts for athletes that they are able to complete at home with no equipment.
“A lot of anti-gravity and bodyweight workouts,” Brophy athletic trainer Chris White said. “So even though athletes aren’t in competition most of them are still training.”
Brophy’s volleyball team has been practicing more yoga and core training, virtually. And the school was able to let the club crew team borrow individual rowing machines to use at home.
“That’s an extreme case of being able to practice pretty much like they would be practicing if they were able to get together here,” Woods said.
Jeannine Brandel, president of the AIA executive board, said coaches and staff are doing more than adaptable workouts, adding that they are worried about student-athletes' well-being.
“We’ve been reaching out to students,” Brandel said. “My football coaches, they all sat down and called all their players and just touched base, “what do you need, can we help you?” That’s been the most important piece for us.”
The student-athletes who were coming off of injuries and relying on athletic trainers for rehabilitation are getting consultations as well.
“We've been doing video assessments through Google Meet," White said. "It's a little challenging because you can't get your hands on someone and assess.”
Athletic trainers are performing unconventional tests and relying on student-athletes to be hands-on with their injury evaluations. They may have to poke and move injured body parts themselves.
“We also have an app called HEP2go that has allowed us to set up custom rehab programs...We can email them to groups, athletes, teams or individuals for specific home exercise programs, depending on their surgery, rehab or whatever it is,” White said.
As an athletic trainer, White is most concerned for those athletes who are remaining inactive during self-isolation but plan to come back to participate in fall sports full force.
“Once they're allowed to start working out with their teams again are we gonna see a lot of injuries? We just don’t know what to expect,” White said.
Typically high schools will hold June workouts for fall sports, then have a month of rest before tryouts and season practice begin. Brophy made the independent decision to not hold summer workouts in June.
“First, our plan is no we're not doing anything for the month of June but we'll be open if things change,” Woods said.
Brophy is willing to reevaluate the situation as more information about the coronavirus surfaces. But Woods is hopeful football workouts will begin on time in late July.
“If we get to start football practice, that will mean that everything's kind of back the way it's supposed to be,” Woods said.
Brandal confirmed that if football workouts begin on July 27, a full season of football and other fall sports will take place.
“Rules say that you need to have like 14 practices or so before you participate. And I think we can do that,” Brandel said.
White and Woods agreed that not being able to work with student-athletes directly isn’t ideal and it is what they are most looking forward to for the fall.
Coaches, staff, and student-athletes have been innovative and adaptable despite the current circumstances across the nation and are ready for practices and sports when they are able to return.