Friday, January 8, 2021

Arizona's high school winter sports season cancelled as COVID cases rise

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 3:40 PM

click to enlarge Arizona's high school winter sports season cancelled as COVID cases rise
Travis Whittaker/Cronkite News

The Arizona Interscholastic Association's executive board voted 5-4 to cancel the upcoming high school winter sports season during a Jan. 7 special session.

The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee recommended the executive board cancel the winter season, citing hospital capacity concerns during a week when 93% of all ICU beds and 92% of all inpatient beds are in use. SMAC Committee Chair Dr. Kristina Wilson said their main concern is that injured students might be unable to receive proper care during this time.

“Unfortunately, it is expected that the state will see a continued rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations for some time,” Wilson said. “As medical professionals, we cannot in good conscience recommend that students engage in a winter season under the current conditions.”

While the board’s decision to once again cancel another high school season was not taken lightly, AIA Board President Toni Corona said at this point there isn’t enough time to have a winter season if delayed for a second time. The winter season was expected to start on Jan. 18 after originally scheduled to start in November.

“We do not see the situation improving very quickly,” Corona said. “Unfortunately, it does not appear that there will be adequate time before the start of the spring season for a winter season to occur.”

The Arizona high school spring sports season is still scheduled to start on March 1, but will depend on statewide COVID-19 metrics improving and continued evaluation by SMAC officials.