TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s a new, growing call for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to allow youth sports this fall during the pandemic. Under the current public health order, fall contact sports including basketball, soccer, wrestling, and football are postponed.
A Taos mom is now hoping to change that, starting a petition asking the governor to allow these sports in the fall. “I’m positive, convinced, as a parent and as a doctor that we can do this safely,” Dr. Caroline Colonna, who is the parent of a high school soccer athlete, said.
She said if these sports can be played outside, they should be allowed.
“We have gyms that are open, we have people you know, people practicing inside which is less safe than outside, the data shows that. And we also have people eating at outdoor restaurants, outside without masks, because you can’t eat with a mask on. So, I don’t see any difference between letting the kids play outside, practicing their sports, with everything else we’ve allowed,” she said.
In the petition, Dr. Colonna, who practices traditional Chinese medicine, argues that according to the CDC, hospitalization rates among people 18 and younger is very low. She also argues that not playing sports hurts kids’ mental health, using statistics to make her point.
“They’re staying home on their computer, doing video games, and you know, doing their homework, and it’s lifeless,” Dr. Colonna said. “I just think that you know, not playing and not practicing, is worse for them than actually the risk that playing outdoor poses. I think the risk of playing outdoors, especially with precautions, in an environment that would be supervised by coaches and staff, is safe.”
As of Wednesday evening, the petition had more than 3,700 signatures with a goal of 5,000. Dr. Colonna said her next steps are to get even more signatures and bring the petition to the governor’s office, Department Of Health, and her local school district.
“The hope is really to get to the next level which is to sway the decision-makers into making policy that is, you know, consistent with the data and the science…If we don’t get these kids out to play their sports, more reverse effects will come out of that,” she said.
In a response to the petition, the governor’s office sent an emailed statement to KRQE:
“We understand the frustration of kids and families across the state experiencing many difficult impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s critical that every one of us do everything we can to limit person-to-person contact, which is why fall contact sports were suspended.
This was a difficult decision, but the governor continues to do everything she can to protect the health and safety of New Mexicans. Just one potentially deadly case of COVID-19 could easily spread throughout a group of children and affect hundreds more New Mexicans – these protocols are in place to prevent further illness and death.”
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