KIRKWOOD, Mo. — New youth sports guidelines recently went into effect in St. Louis County, which prohibited games, tournaments, competitions and showcases for athletes 14 and older.
"It’s much bigger than football, it’s much bigger than track and field, the sport i coach, it’s much bigger than any of the sports we have."
Kirkwood track and field coach Roberta McWoods knows first hand what COVID-19 can do to student-athletes. Her track season was cut short last spring due to the current pandemic.
"When the news hit, we were devastated, I spent 35 years as a coach, coaching and that hurt me," she said.
Just a few miles way, Mike Wise, a father of several athletes, has seen the pain this pandemic has caused. His daughter plays softball at SLU and lost a season last spring and his son would be a freshman football player at Vianney, and may now have to wait another year before playing.
"It was tough, he loves the game and loves to play but he also knows there’s a greater good to what he has to do, right…we’re in the middle of a pandemic," Wise said.
Both McWoods and Wise said the coronavirus is unpredictable and it hits the African American community much harder, which is why they both agree, youth sports should be put on pause.
"For our kids, sports is an extra curricular activity and so we’re treating it just that, and so focus on your education, focus on what you need to focus on in school," Wise said.
While some data indicates kids can bounce back much quicker than adults if they contracted the deadly virus, McWoods says we shouldn’t chance a kids' life for just a game.
"Yes, there may be some high school students that would get through and be just fine, and there’s going to be some we may not know what the long term effects are going to be in terms of how they may be affected later on and i don’t think anybody should be willing to take that risk," he added.
On Sunday, some parents and students gathered at the edge of St. Louis County Executive Sam Page's residential street, chanting the message "let them play" in favor of playing sports.