Theis supports adoption of resolution to ‘Let Them Play’

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted a resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on winter high school contact sports and allow play to resume immediately.

Senate Resolution 7 was adopted earlier in the day by the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee, chaired by Sen. Lana Theis.

“As has been the case for much of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders in response to the coronavirus, the science doesn’t back up her actions to cancel youth and prep sports,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “Almost all athletes in our state who have been tested for the virus were negative and they have been abiding by all the rules that MDHHS and the governor have imposed on them, yet they still have not been allowed to play. Meanwhile, the evidence is gathering that athletes are suffering from mental health issues, including anxiety, stress, and feelings of isolation — a terrible and avoidable outcome.”

The resolution cites the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, who indicated over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted on athletes over the last three months for fall sports was 99.8%. Also cited are data from a national survey of high school and college students, which indicated 87% reported stress and anxiety, while 57% reported that their mental health had worsened because of the coronavirus.

“Virtually every aspect of athletics benefits those who participate, from physical exercise, to social interaction, and the development of leadership skills,” Theis said. “Beyond that, the teamwork and the healthy competition taught by sports are components of a well-rounded childhood education. What is not beneficial is this governor’s seemingly political, rather than science-based, decisions, resulting in the theft of thousands of student athletes’ opportunity to compete. Just let them play.”

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