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Seabrooks predicts safe sports seasons

Johnny Seabrooks, athletics director of the Dougherty County School System, speaks at the Exchange Club of Albany weekly Friday luncheon meeting. He said he expects a successful school year athletically.

Johnny Seabrooks, athletics director of the Dougherty County School System, speaks at the Exchange Club of Albany weekly Friday luncheon meeting. He said he expects a successful school year athletically.

ALBANY — With 31 student-athletes earning scholarships last season and 25 taking part in all-star games, Johnny Seabrooks, director of athletics for the Dougherty County School System, said he expects even more athletic accomplishments during the coming school year.

Seabrooks told the Exchange Club of Albany at its noon Friday meeting that the system places an emphasis on academics and safety.

“I always have to remind parents that coaches don’t give out the scholarships,” Seabrooks said. “The students have to prepare academically and have a good attitude, and the scholarships will come.”

When it comes to football, all four county high schools will play in Region 1-AAAA this year.

“We made a decision to play up,” Seabrooks said.

The geographic location of Region 1-AAAA schools is close enough so that travel won’t interfere with athletic prowess or study time, Seabrooks added.

Safety always rates high in Dougherty County sports, the athletics director noted as he explained the rules of practicing football when the temperature rises.

The last four years, the heat policy was to stop practice at 105 degrees. A couple of other school systems had a 120-degree policy, Seabrooks said.

The new policy, he said, lowers the temperature limit to 92 degrees. Hit 92 degrees, and any practice must be shut down or moved indoors. During the first five days of practice, football players are limited to wearing only mouth guards and helmets, no pads.

Considering required water breaks, actual practice is about 40 minutes during an hour, Seabrooks added. Coupling that with the cool-off tanks filled with ice in case of overheating, and Seabrooks said he sees a safe football season ahead.

As part of good sportsmanship, Seabrooks said his coaches will follow the Georgia High School Association rules and not allow bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender athletes.

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