Future of fall sports season remains in question

Published 2:29 pm Friday, June 26, 2020

While sporting events are starting to pop up on the summer calendar, it still remains a mystery as to whether or not any games will be played in the fall.

With rising COVID-19 rates in the southern United States and new information being discovered on a daily basis, it is nearly impossible to predict what will happen next. Dr. Jason Lee, who works for Mayo Clinic in physical medicine and rehabilitation, sports medicine in Faribault is on the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee with the Minnesota State High School League. He also works with the U.S. Olympic Hockey teams. He said it’s tough to gauge where things will stand in a month and a half, which is when most fall sports teams would normally begin practicing.

“That is a moving target. We are set to meet in the near future to see how that will look. There is more to come as far as advisory goes,” Lee said of fall sports. “I don’t think we have a definite answer at this point. We’ve had some discussion, but we’ve been waiting on the academic side of it.”

Lee said he advises all athletes and fans to keep up with social distancing and to wear a mask. If possible, fans should avoid entering the venue at the same time and they should space out in the grandstands.

Teams are being asked to keep workouts to 25 athletes or less with a limited number of coaches present and teams should also play locally before they begin traveling for games.

There is a high demand for high school sports to resume in the fall, but it will be dependent on where the COVID-19 pandemic stands.

“Sports is a big part of our society and it has many benefits,” Lee said. “We want to get them back, but we want to be safe.”

Dr. Deepi Goyal of Mayo Clinic said that Minnesotans should be careful now, so they don’t have to dial back later. He pointed out the rise in hospitalizations in Texas, where the pandemic is starting to push back on further reopenings.

“Some of the states that have been opening up have seen huge rises in hospitalizations,” Goyal said. “It’s a cautionary tale for us in Minnesota, who have been doing a good job of flattening our curve. But as we see businesses opening up, especially indoor venues, it’s important that we continue distancing and masking. If we want to restart the economy, it’s going to be critical for us to be very cautious.”