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MHSAA votes to make athletic physicals valid through May 31, 2021

The Mississippi High School Activities Association voted on Monday to extend the validity of athletic physicals for another year, clearing one potential administrative problem for the 2020-21 high school sports season.

Upon the recommendations of the National Federation of High Schools and the MHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committees, the MHSAA’s Executive Committee voted to allow physicals conducted in 2019 to be considered valid through May 31, 2021.

The move means athletes at MHSAA schools will not need a new physical to play a sport in the 2020-21 school year, provided they had one on or after April 1, 2019.

They also will not need one to participate in summer workouts or tryouts. Tryouts for most fall sports in the Vicksburg Warren School District are scheduled to take place in June.

Students entering seventh grade, students who are new to participation in MHSAA sponsored activities, or students who are entering Mississippi from other states will still be required to obtain a new pre-participation exam.

Physicals typically are conducted each April or May, and are good until May 31 of the following year — the end of one academic year and the start of the next. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic currently limiting large gatherings and access to hospitals and doctors, schools across Mississippi faced a difficult task of safely conducting hundreds of new physicals in a short period of time.

The MHSAA suspended all competition in spring sports on March 15, and then canceled the rest of the season a month later. On April 17, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves closed the state’s public schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

In a release announcing the vote on physicals, the MHSAA also issued a reminder that all competition, practices, tryouts and activities are still prohibited until at least June 1.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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