Hoof Print (McDonough, Georgia)
GHSA regulates football, perhaps one of the most infamous sports for head injuries, is one of the sports regulated. In addition to ensuring safety on the field, before teams even compete, GHSA organizes them into divisions and makes sure that each individual player is eligible. Football coach Jared Zito described GHSA as ”A governing body for all activities for all member schools of GHSA.”
GHSA regulates the rules and conditions of all sports offered at Ola, as well as One Act plays and literary team competitions. The groups they regulate must fill out concussion prevention forms, get yearly physicals and follow the guideline for their individual group. Regulations in place help keep students from heat exhaustion, prevent unsafe practice conditions and maintain as evenly matched competitions as possible. Zito stated, “They regulate everything, from eligibility, to sportsmanship, the safety of our players, to having the right certifications. Basically, they regulate everything to keep high school sports safe, fair and run the right way.
The code of conduct for GHSA states that it, “recognizes its responsibility with respect to the promotion of honesty, truthfulness, and accuracy in recordkeeping and reporting.” Although it may be strenuous, the paperwork and rules that go into effect every competition, GHSA makes it their goal to keep preventable injuries from happening. Cheerleading coach Stephanie McMahan has dealt with GHSA while coaching at Ola where she had to fill out forms for herself and her cheerleading teams. McMahan explained that GHSA “Makes everyone do a concussion test every year, and there is very specific protocol is someone has a concussion, when they can come back. It just keeps everyone safe.”
GHSA also organizes schools into categories depicted by stars (two star, five star) based on the size of the student population so when in competition, the schools are evenly matched with limited advantages. Following the set regulations, they host competitions that are at higher levels, like state or region level.
Without the help of GHSA, schools have the potential to compete in unevenly matched competitions.
Photo Credit: Mikhail Sims