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Forget high school/college athletics — should there be youth sports now or not

By LARRY VAUGHT

As we continue to wait for word on if there will be high school and college sports this fall and what kind of seasons each sport will have if they do play, two friends ask me a question that I really had not stopped to contemplate.

Basically, they wondered why with schools either going virtual or at least offering students that opportunity, why any sports for youth under 12 years old are even still being considered.

Now I love sports and my son certainly competed in youth sports. I’ve coached youth sports. I even played youth sports a FEW years ago myself and think it is something every child should at least try.

But with so many questions about COVID-19, it does seem like it might be reasonable just to put a halt on sports for kids for a while. There’s no risk of losing a college scholarship offer for an 8-year-old athlete. There will be a “next year” for kids 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12. They can still play/practice on their own to improve skills.

One parent acknowledged the fear of the unknown bothered her the most. She didn’t mean just the chances of catching the virus. She wonders what happens if in three or five years or more we learn that children who did get COVID-19 have health complications from the virus.

Again, I have never thought about this. I’ve bene thinking about professional, college and high school sports. But it does seem to make sense to me that maybe the wise decision would be to put a halt on youth sports now and see how it goes with high school and college athletics. Maybe do the same for high school basketball and baseball. Let’s try to figure out high school and college fall sports for now because that seems like more than enough of a challenge.

Agree? Disagree?

Share your views. Just keep them respectful and remember I know this is not a yes or not, right or wrong decision because none of us really know what might happen. I honestly feel like I know less about COVID-19 now than I did in mid-March.

2 comments

  1. We are all going to be exposed and/or get Covid19 unless you live in a bubble. The shutdowns, masks, regulations are only in place to buy time for improved treatments and to keep ICU’s manageable. Even if a vaccine is approved/effective no one knows yet how long the antibodies last and could be a yearly vaccine just like the flu. These kids need socialization and thankfully serious issues from Covid is sparing the young. Just like any illness or disease there will always be exceptions, and one could list many problems that we WILL see if kids continue to be isolated from friends, education, mentors and physical activity. Scientists do have more knowledge than they did 7 months ago and still the elderly, those with health conditions such as diabetes, renal and vascular disease or any immune compromised state should take all precautions. The major issue with sports or school will be keeping high risk teachers, coaches and support staff/family members healthy. No easy answers, but sports isn’t about getting a college scholarship at age 8 or age 18, it’s more important than that!

    1. Valid points but I just would prefer to err on the side of caution with young kids. Let’s see how high school and college sports play out and I still hope maybe schools will just hold off and hope by January everybody can safely be back in school. Have doctor friends who worry about long-term impact of COVID-19 on kids could be that we know nothing about yet

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