East County News Service
Photo: CC via Bing
February 8, 2021 (Sacramento) -- “It’s time to get our kids off the bench and into the game,” says State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee). Jones has signed on as a coauthor of the “Let Them Play” resolution, which calls on the Newsom administration to reopen youth sports.
“For almost a year, organized sports for youth have been locked-down by the Governor. The negative physical and mental health effects on young people have been devastating.”
The “Let Them Play” resolution recognizes that certain safety protocols and precautions to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 should and easily can be part of the resumption of organized sports.
“Other states are safely letting their kids play so why can’t California?” asks Senator Jones. “Exercise and teamwork are an important part of physical and mental wellbeing.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offers guidelines on youth sports during the COVID-19 pandemic at this link.
“It’s important to note that safely hosting a large event, including sporting events, in areas where there are high levels of COVID-19 within the community will be challenging,” the CDC site states. According to the CDC, the risk is highest in communities with high rates of COVID and in close-contact sports, such as football or basketball.
Under the most recent state and county guidelines, non-contact sports such as swimming, track and field, and golf can hold competitions. But close-contact sports such as soccer, football and basketball are banned from competitions; they are however allowed to hold limited practices with social distancing, such as batting, fielding, or kicking practice.
Youth sports provide exercise for young people, may help build a team spirit and self-esteem, as well as conditioning some youths for potential sports scholarships as a means of affordable entry into college.
But while children and teens typically have milder cases of COVID-19 than adults, they can pass along the disease to older family members or those with underlying conditions, for whom the virus can be far more dangerous. In addition, some children have suffered serious harm from COVID-19.
Yesterday, San Diego County announced the first local death of a child from COVID-19, a 10-year-old boy reportedly from East County, a reminder that reopening sports, though anxiously awaited by many young people and their families, is not without risk.
The “Let Them Play” resolution was initially drafted by Assembly members James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and is awaiting assignment from the Assembly Desk.
Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.
East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and https://www.facebook.com/fbjournalismproject/.
You can donate to support our local journalism efforts during the pandemic at https://www.EastCountyMedia.org/donate