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Full-contact sports get green light from OHA

The Oregon Health Authority on Tuesday gave approval for youth athletes to engage in full-contact sports, meaning high school basketball, wrestling and swimming have the green light play their seasons this school year.

The decision is effective Friday, but the basketball, wrestling and swimming seasons — typically winter sports — aren’t scheduled to begin unil May.

Practices are scheduled to start May 10, and contest dates are from May 17 to June 23.

As of early Tuesday evening, the OSAA had not issued a reaction to the announcement or whether it would affect the competiton calendar currently in place.

In a Twitter announcement, the OHA wrote:

“Recognizing the importance of athletics for the physical & mental health of Oregon’s youth athletes & at the direction of the Governor’s Office, we’ve updated Oregon’s metrics for allowing the resumption of indoor full-contact sports, effective April 23.”

It went on:

“Sports organizations are required to follow health and safety measures for indoor full-contact sports to lessen the risk of #COVID19 infection. Additional guidance for indoor full-contact sports from OHA is forthcoming.”

It referred to its Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart, which, for high risk areas, such as Jackson County, has these restrictions:

Occupancy for events will be limited to 25 percent of capacity, or 50 people, whichever is smaller; indoor full-contact sports allowed are for adult/club/youth sports with guidance requirements; indoor full-contact sports allowed for K-12 with submitted plan.

The OSAA is in its second week of Season 3 for baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field. It runs through May 23.

Crater vs. Ashland, Varsity Basketball at Crater High. (//PHOTOS BY: Larry Stauth, Jr.)