Youth football adjusting to pandemic

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As some college leagues and high school programs suspend fall sports, some youth leagues are trying to move forward with their seasons. 2 NEWS spoke with organizers and coaches who believe their athletes can play while staying safe from COVID-19, but some are also cautiously optimistic about whether their season can proceed.

With summer practices moving forward for Eagle Youth Football and Cheerleading, coaches say it’s been fun to be back on the field with the kids but admit it’s different during a pandemic.

“This year, we started a little early just for the simple fact of getting the kids out of the house,” said parent and Eagle Youth Football Coach Darrell Howard.

Brian Kadel, fellow parent and Eagle Youth Football Coach adds, “It’s a little trying with everything that we have to do, social distancing and sanitizing and so forth, but we’ve been making it work.”

Although state officials began allowing contact during practices and some scrimmages, President of Eagle Youth Football Howard Walker says his coaches are still running only non-contact drills.

“Should be the governor’s edict be no contact, then I have totally disappointed all of my children by passing out the equipment,” he said.

Doctors say while it’s up to parents to decide whether it’s safe for their kids to play sports, they believe the risk of complications from COVID-19 in children is low.

“When you’re looking at risk and benefit, even if the benefit wasn’t as great as I think it is, the risk is still very small,” said Dr. Joseph Allen with Premier Health.

Walker says his organization is supposed to be part of a new league that is scheduled to begin its games after Labor Day. Despite the uncertainty, coaches say they want to make sure the kids are ready to play.

“They need this type of activity. They need the interaction, they need the social interaction,” said Walker. He tells 2 NEWS that so far, no athletes or coaches have tested positive since practices began earlier this summer.

Meanwhile, Governor DeWine has said he will issue orders regarding contact sports “soon.”

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