Common sense called for in plan for sports

Unless something changes dramatically in Ohio over the next few weeks, those hoping to be able to view sports live and in-person from the stands this fall are likely to be disappointed. Over the weekend, the Ohio Department of Health confirmed an order prohibiting spectators at contact sports games. That applies to everyone, by the way — from high school up through the pros; and it applies until the state of emergency regarding COVID-19 is lifted in the Buckeye State.

Good. It’s a start –particularly for those college and professional football games. But let’s be honest for a moment about who is attending high school football games: parents, families and the same young people these players will be brushing up against in the hallways at school.

Of course it makes sense to limit the number of people packed into the stands screaming at the field. But does it make sense to eliminate spectators entirely? Why not limit attendance to two people per player, with masks and temperature checks required; and taped seating at least 10 feet apart?

No one envies those trying to make the right decisions for stopping the spread of this virus once school is back in session. And, again, such an order makes sense for the college and pro sports. But if we are going to allow these kids to go out and play a game that involves running (and therefore breathing heavily) and tackling — if we are going to allow them to play a CONTACT sport — why can’t we let their families watch them safely?

It has occurred to someone that these players will tackle each other and then go home to those same families who were not allowed to attend the game, right?

There is good reason to be cautious about reopening sports, as we have been with everything else. Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health are right to put restrictions in place for sporting events, too. They must do so, however, with a little common sense.


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