Gov. Brown allows outdoor contact sports to resume across Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. — Outdoor contact sports will resume this week for high school athletics with health and safety protocols in place.

Governor Kate Brown announced they’re beginning based on county risk level.

“This is a life changing opportunity for these kids who thought they maybe lost this for forever,” said North Medford varsity assistant football coach, Jim Bosworth.

Beginning this week, outdoor contact sports can resume throughout the state.

“It’s very exciting, like I said it’s been forever, 15 months almost, and I’ve missed it for sure,” said 16-year-old varsity football player, Bryce Dyer.

Dyer plays wide receiver at North Medford High School.

He says he and his teammates have been safely practicing in anticipation of finally getting the green light for tackle football.

“Being able to know that after all those practices we’re going to be able and go out use whatever we’ve learned and used in real games is nice,” said Dyer.

Governor Kate Brown announced Wednesday that outdoor sports are permitted with health and safety protocols, based on a county’s current risk level. This means extreme and high risk counties, like most of southern Oregon, can ‘opt-in’ with additional protocols.

Schools in extreme and high risk counties must offer on-site testing, gather contact information for contact tracing and provide a waiver identifying health risks.

Additionally, schools must have limited in-person instruction with the goal of achieving hybrid or full in-person instruction this school year.

“Maybe there’s some districts that now need to re-examine their commitment to re-opening their schools, the Medford School District has done a phenomenal job laying our groundwork for us,” said Coach Bosworth.

Bosworth says the news is a big relief. He is also a co-founder of the Let them Play! initiative.

“I was sitting at our kitchen table and I got the news and all I could do was sit my phone down, I stood up and grabbed my wife and hugged her and I started crying,” he said.

Bosworth adds that his team is ready to get back on the field and play some real football.

“We’ll be in helmets on Monday for a couple days and then we get shoulder pads towards the end of the week and off we go from there,” said Bosworth.

Although football is getting physical again, the Medford School District and Coach Bosworth say following the safety guidelines is of the utmost importance to them.

“The safety of our players and the communities that they go home to, that’s our number one priority.”

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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