Youth sports restarting proves confusing

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While some kids are getting back into sports there’s confusion over who can return to play, how it should be done, and just who will decide. An Albuquerque coach whose kids play at Stone Face courts near I-25 and Paseo say they were in the middle of prepping the sand courts for kids when they were told to lock up.

“My daughter’s 13 and I’m trying to sit here and explain why she can’t be outside, playing outside, stuck at home, and I really don’t have answers for her. We feel like it’s very selective right now because we’re one of the only places in town that is shut down,” said Bryan Klein.

Klein is a coach with New Mexico Premiere Volleyball and says last week the state told the staff the sand courts could not open and they were not given an explanation as to why. He said it’s frustrating because other courts some indoor have been allowed to stay open with as many as five players per court. Sand often plays with only four. They want to know why some places are being singled out.

Duke City Beaches on Menaul says it too was forced to close. They say it was because someone complained it’s a contact sport. News 13 has reached out to the state to see why these courts were closed, State Police says Duke City is in compliance and should be allowed to stay open.

Stone Face says it was forced to close by the New Mexico Department of Health. A department spokesperson says they are looking into it. On Friday Dr. David Scrase with the Human Services Department says they’re still working on state guidelines.

“The CDC has put out some guidance about that and in general, the reason they call them contact sports is because you actual have physical contact with other folks which clearly requires less than six-foot distancing I think one of the great mysteries for me in this whole pandemic, is what is the role of children?” said Dr. Scrase.

As far as sand volleyball, players and coaches argue you can’t get any farther apart when playing. With just two players per side, there’s a lot of distance. both groups are calling on the public to reach out to their state reps for help getting them back open.

The New Mexico Athletics Association has released its own guidelines for phase one of returning to play based on the public health order. In those, they mention no contact with others, sharing of equipment and no games and scrimmages. Other leagues like I-9 Youth Sports have been back in action for two weekends now, limiting contact among athletes.

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