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Drones sacked at Forsyth County youth football games

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County parents who want to fly drones during youth football games are getting grounded.

During a meeting Wednesday of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board, the department’s director unveiled the new measure.

“Youth leagues, now they go by high school rules,” Jim Pryor explained. “High school rules don’t allow drones to be flown over football fields during times of games. So since we use those rules, we outlaw them from football for our football program.”

The use of drones during youth football games has become increasingly common across Georgia and other states, offering coaches an overhead view of team formations and plays.

According to Pryor, there have been few issues with drones in general in county parks.

The Forsyth measure would apply only to football.

“We don’t outlaw them from all parks,” Pryor said. “As long as it’s not a nuisance or a safety hazard to anybody, I’m not really seeing enough to say we need a policy against them or need to outlaw them or ban them.”

Board member Steve Dabbs pointed out that there are inherent safety issues with drones flying overhead.

“I will point out that one crashed during a professional tennis match. It crashed into the bleachers,” Dabbs said. “And I do know of a wedding photographer that had one crash.”

Pryor said that there is only a one city in the state that bans drones outright, which may also be due to a sporting event.

“The only city, county in Georgia that bans drones per ordinance is Augusta,” he said. “The county attorney believes that The Masters [golf tournament] might be a reason for that.”