ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. —
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced last week youth sports will return to Phase 1 of the county’s return-to-play plan due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
On Monday, the St. Louis Sports COVID-19 Coalition held a virtual protest arguing that no factual evidence has been presented to support this decision.
The coalition is made up of youth sports directors from multiple organizations that represent more than 22,000 athletes and families.
Under Phase 1 of the county’s return-to-play plan, youth sports teams cannot conduct training sessions where athletes practice in groups larger than 10, including a coach. Teams cannot utilize equipment, and physical contact is prohibited.
After the virtual protest, the coalition signed a letter written to Page, requesting that the county provide data supporting the decision to pause the return of youth sports. POWERplex president Dan Buck said the county’s reasoning has been backed by generalities.
“Give us the data and we will support you all fully, if indeed you can produce it,” Buck said. “If you cannot produce the athlete-to-athlete transmission, if you cannot produce the contact tracing back to specific clubs, or organizations, or kids, or families, then we demand that youth sports be reopened on Friday.”
Every coalition member who attended the virtual protest said there has been no cross-transmission of the coronavirus within their organization since played resumed.
“St. Louis Scott Gallagher represents over 4,000 players,” St. Louis Scott Gallagher club director Stever Percher said. “To this date, we’ve only had four players diagnosed positive. There’s no dual positive test on any team. So that tells me we are isolating them properly, and they are getting that from outside of soccer.”
The coalition compiled COVID-19 data from each organization to argue that the resumption of youth sports did not cause a rise in positive COVID-19 cases.
“1,799 teams,” Buck said. “23, 259 athletes. We have 12 confirmed COVID cases. And none of which were contracted on the sports field. And 16 parents who have tested positive. And of all those organizations, zero have been contacted by the health department for any reason.”
The St. Louis Sports COVID-19 Coalition requested that Page releases all data supporting the county’s decision within 72 hours.
The coalition said if the data is not released during that time frame, then it will be filing an injunction in court on Friday.
In the St. Louis County Monday morning press briefing, Page told reporters that his decision to return to Phase 1 was based off recommendations from health experts and the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force.
The St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force is made up of 14 pediatricians from three health systems.
For more information on data presented at the St. Louis Sports COVID-19 Coalition virtual protest, visit here.