Dumas School District Superintendent Kelvin Gragg will serve as vice chairman of a new group Gov. Asa Hutchinson created to consider the safest way to conduct sports and activities for the 2020-2021 school year. Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe will chair the group.

The High School Sports Advisory Group will include 14 physicians, mental health professionals, coaches, and educators.

“The Department of Health will continue its responsibility to provide health guidelines, and this group of experts will serve in an advisory capacity to look specifically at how we can have fall sports in the safest manner possible,” Gov. Hutchinson said in a news release announcing the creation of the new advisory group.

“We want to consider every angle to protect our athletes, cheerleaders, and band members,” Hutchinson said. “My message for the football players on Monday is to grab your helmet for practice and then after practice, grab a mask. Because our responsibility for safety extends beyond the practice field.”

Other members of the High School Sports Advisory Group are:
• Dr. Lowry Barnes, orthopedic surgeon and chairman of UAMS Department of Orthopedics.
• Jacob Brown, Therapeutic Family Services.
• Paul Calley, dean of students, assistant football coach, Southwest High School.
• Jason Cates, athletic trainer at Cabot School District; chairman of the Arkansas Sports Medicine Committee.
• Laura Crow, volleyball coach at Conway High School.
• Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, state epidemiologist, Arkansas Department of Health.
• Fitz Hill, State Board of Education.
• Dr. Michael Israel, associate professor of Adolescent Medicine and Director of Sports Medicine at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
• Dr. Lee Johnson, state representative.
• Janet McDonald, behavioral health professional at Pinnacle Point.
• Lance Taylor, director of the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA).
• Dr. Joel Tumlison, physician specialist, Arkansas Department of Health.