This year has been a hard one for high school athletes. The arrival of COVID-19 shut down high school sports last March — just when the girls’ basketball state tournament had two days left of play and 12 teams were competing for titles. The boys were still competing for section wins.
Spring sports were canceled. Fall sports were allowed to resume, but with shortened seasons and new rules to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Then, when COVID-19 cases surged in Minnesota in November, Gov. Tim Walz pushed back the start of winter sports like basketball, hockey, wrestling and swimming.
Now, these programs are starting up again. State guidelines changed on Jan. 4, when teams were allowed to start practice, and games are allowed to resume starting Thursday.
What role do sports play in keeping young people mentally and physically healthy? What changes are coaches making to slow the spread of the virus? What’s it like to wear masks while playing, answer daily health questionnaires and adjust to small practice pods? And is it any fun playing, in many cases, with no fans?
Thursday at 11 a.m., MPR News guest host and reporter Dan Kraker will speak with two coaches and a sports medicine doctor about playing sports during a pandemic.
Call 651-227-6000 during the 11 a.m. hour to join the conversation or tweet @dan_kraker.
Dr. Steven Greer is a sports medicine doctor and medical director at TRIA in St. Paul. He’s also a team physician for Mounds View High School.
Omar McMillan is head coach for boys basketball at Richfield High School. He’s also a 5th grade teacher at Richfield STEM and was a finalist for 2020 Teacher of the Year.
Tracy Cassano is varsity girls hockey coach at Minnetonka High School.
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