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WIAA discusses impact of school closures and cancellation of sports

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Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 20:05:10-04

(NBC 26) -- The WIAA held a meeting Tuesday morning discussing the impact school closures and sport cancellations could be having on student athletes.

A presentation was given by Dr. Tim McGuine, a member of the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee. Data was collected in May 2020 from more than 3-thousand "adolescent athletes" in Wisconsin. Results from the survey showed, according to McGuine, that school closures and activity cancellations due to COVID-19 "appear to be associated with significant, negative impacts on the health and well-being of Wisconsin adolescent athletes." This included mental health, physical activity, and health related quality of life.

As far as fall sports, leaders with the WIAA said what happens in one community might not in another.

"If our member schools are opening, and if they choose to have a sports season and wish to have a tournament, the staff at the WIAA will do everything to be in position to help support that," said Dave Anderson, the executive director.

The WIAA released guidelines for summer sports. When asked about guidelines for fall sports, deputy director Wade Labecki said he expects they will expand on the guidelines they already have. Dr. Kevin Walter, a member of the Sports Medical Advisory Committee, said he expects the committee will meet and discuss what to do next based on data and studies.

"What we learn over the next month about coronavirus is hopefully going to be helpful with informing us for how we can make fall safer and minimize that risk to all of our students and communities. So I would hope that we're going to put together some guidelines for minimizing risk, improving safety for each sport in the fall, but I would anticipate that's going to happen probably sometime in July as we look forward to getting more information," added Dr. Walter.

He said with everything rapidly changing, the more data they can gather, the better recommendations they can make.

Nick Senger the activities director and associate principal at Ashwaubenon High School was on the meeting. He said they have to balance the ability to get the students back in school and playing sports with the risk of COVID-19.

"It's going to be really interesting to see where we land with student sections and fans and bringing people back into buildings, but at the end of the day, we want kids to have fun. We want to do it right. We want to do it safe. So our goal is to get them out there to play the games they love," added Senger.