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High school athletes face new responsibilities as they return to the field

KHSAA decided to keep high school sports this fall with delayed and adjusted schedules.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday’s announcement that the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA)  would continue to try and hold fall sports was welcomed with cheers from athletes, parents and coaches who had anxiously awaited the news. But the reality of what they must face to stay safe, and keep their season, is a conversation already taking place in homes across the commonwealth.

Nowhere is that more true than in the Hardin County home of the Lunz family.

North Hardin senior, Michael Lunz II was all smiles hearing the KHSAA announcement. He's already committed to Arkansas State, will graduate early in December with a 3.7 grade point average and already having tackled 18 college credits.

"Not going out with my friends, not being around people, those are very small sacrifices," the linebacker recalled. “Members of my family are at very high risk and if they get it it can be very detrimental so, when I go out, I always wear my mask.”

RELATED: High school sports will happen this fall in Kentucky, KHSAA says

Members of his family are at high risk of COVID-19. He doesn't have to play this season, but he will play thanks in large part to his leadership off the field.

Lunz’s mom, Christal, said he’s been taking care of siblings for years and understands the importance of keeping everyone healthy at home.

“As long as I’m seeing, as a mom, that he’s doing the right thing, isn’t that what motherhood is about," Christal asked. “If you think about it, you spend 16 to 17 years pushing this person to be that person and when then they demonstrate that they’re that person to you can’t say, well maybe not.”

Responsibility is something being talked about across Kentucky high school football, especially at St. X in Louisville.

"I think, if we're going to be able to get through this, have a season and continue to play, then they're going to have to reach a level of discipline that maybe nobody I have ever coached has to reach," said St. X head Football Coach, Kevin Wallace.

Trinity grad and sports performance expert Corey Taylor has been training players during quarantine. He too celebrated Tuesday’s news and while all of his clients are set to return to the field, he understands why some parents would still be leery.

“I'm very excited for them to be able to see all of their hard work put to the test and be able to play on the field," said Taylor. “I'm excited for them.”

He added, “I think, as a parent, I'm torn. I want my son to have activity and be able to compete and do the things that he enjoys doing but there's also the apprehension of the unknown and the safety of the pandemic and what's going on.”

Conversations like these will be had across the commonwealth as we approach the season. The KHSAA is hoping Monday’s decision will be the last tough decision to make before the end of the pandemic but they are monitoring the Coronavirus cases knowing that they may have to revisit the ruling if cases spike.

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