ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- A huge shift for the Minnesota State High School League Monday will allow the football and volleyball seasons to begin next week.
The seasons for both sports were set begin this spring because of the ongoing pandemic. While that's now changed, it doesn't mean safety isn't still a huge concern.
Like with many other aspects of reopening, there isn't a way to entirely eliminate risk, but there are ways to minimize it.
John Marshall football team captain Parker Navitsky said he's been waiting to get the season started.
"There's nothing like playing under Friday night lights. There's really nothing better than that," Navitsky said.
However, he also acknowledged that there really is no way to social distance in football.
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Physician Dr. David Soma says the clinic will offer advice to athletic trainers who will be at the games this season.
Dr. Soma said minimizing risk begins with precautions before players arrive for their games.
"Main messages are social distancing as best as able some sports obviously are easier to do that than others. Good hand hygiene is extremely important especially coming or going from events," Dr. Soma said. "Maybe having less balls out in play. Each team using their own balls when they're on offensive."
Off the field, Navitsky said giving up on a social life to be able to do what he loves, is an easy decision.
"If we all stick to going to practice, getting home and doing school work, not really going out and doing much and hanging with random people, I think we will have a great chance. And we should all be fine," Navitsky said.
As the season officially begins next Monday the excitement is building towards the first game.
"It's just kind of a blessing to get back on the field with the teammates," Navitsky said.
Dr. Soma added that he supports the players and athletes.
Despite games previously postponed until the spring, the teams have been allowed to do "off-season" practices.
Navitsky tells me he's going to have a long talk with his teammates on sacrifices for safety that need to be made now that games are happening sooner than later.