Referee safety guidelines for the 2020 football season

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 7:05 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - High school football kickoffs Oct. 2, which is nearly one month later than the original start date. LHSAA set several guidelines into place to keep everyone safe, including the people who wear the black and white stripes.

“I want to be out there for the kids,” Sam Forester, the president of the Alexandria Football Officials said. “I want to be out there because I love the energy of it. I want to feel safe with what I’m doing, which I do.”

Forester holds 24 years of experience as a referee, and this year will prepare for a season that is unlike any other.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Michael Benjamin, a referee with 13 years of experience, said. “It’s so many things going on, and we all got to be careful.”

The LHSAA dropped new guidelines Sept. 17, explaining how to safely play a football game in the middle of a pandemic.

One noticeable change will be face coverings. According to the guidelines coaches, players, game personnel, and medical staff members must wear face coverings when they’re on the sideline. However, those face coverings can be removed when actively participating in the game.

“We’ll have our own hydration,” Forester explained. “Our own water bottles set aside more than likely.”

On top of not sharing water bottles, referees will do their best to social distance by speaking to one another through headset rather than huddling together for every call.

“We want to feel safe, and they’re already proving there’s some safety to what they’re doing,” Forester stated.

While having fun is one of the objectives accomplished at football games, safety remains the top priority.

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