Health officials need to realize not every sport is equal when it comes to COVID-19 


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By Ray Hamill — When it comes to COVID-19, not all sports are equal and they shouldn’t be treated as such.

So while the H-DNL and the rest of California continue to play the waiting game for a return to competition, athletes, coaches, fans (and sportswriters) are left frustrated with the lingering uncertainty.

State health officials announced earlier this week that they were postponing issuing any updated guidelines for youth sports, meaning any potential return to competition has likely been pushed back to the new year, thus forcing the H-DNL to push back the start of its sports calendar.

The news comes as no surprise considering the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, and we’ve all known for weeks that the state would not allow high-contact sports such as basketball — which along with cross country was scheduled to be the first to return locally — any time soon.

But not every sport is high contact, and there are several sports that should not only be allowed right now but actively encouraged considering the mental health benefits for the competitors in the midst of a global pandemic.

Sports such as cross country, tennis and golf are well capable of competing within social distance boundaries and in a safe manner.

Golf and tennis are scheduled to take place in the spring and we can presume at this stage that they will be given the green light by then, but the cross country season is now clouded in doubt.

If the H-DNL cannot find a way to compete before the spring there is a likelihood the season will have to be canceled because most of the runners compete in track and field in the spring.

Admittedly, adjustments would have to be made, especially at the starting line, but these are logistics that could surely be overcome in a safe manner.

Of course, the H-DNL’s hands are tied right now, and until it gets the go-ahead from state and local health officials it can do nothing.

But state health officials should realize that not every sport is equal when it comes to COVID-19 and they should act accordingly.

It’s not fair to the student athletes who could compete safely this year, and to the seniors who have put so much time and energy into preparing for their final high school seasons.

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