Youth sports leagues protest St. Louis County order to shut down their games


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Several youth sports organizations are pushing back against St. Louis County’s shutdown of youth sports because of the spread of coronavirus.

Officials from several youth sports leagues have formed the St. Louis Sports COVID-19 Coalition. They have organized to stop what they call the “fear and fiction” being spread by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page.

Last week, Dr. Page shut down all competitive youth sports, citing them as a primary source of the recent spread and increase of COVID-19 in the county.

Executives of several youth associations, representing hundreds of teams and thousands of athletes, say their coronavirus cases are in the single digits in each of their leagues and that athletes or families have followed quarantine restrictions. The officials say since April, they have been following strict CDC guidelines on their fields and courts with temperature checks, mask wearing, deep cleaning, and more.

These league officials say the shutdown is unwarranted and unfair to the athletes.

“The hard part that I have for this, that I struggle with what’s going on with youth sports and what’s going on with this decision, is that we already shut these kids down from so much in the spring,” said Mark Lillibridge, Lou Fusz Athletic Youth Soccer Club. “We took so much away from these kids that need sports.”

St. Louis County youth sports associations say the current situation has led to financial burdens. Officials say they are losing athletes who are signing up in leagues outside St. Louis County, in St. Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin counties, and in Illinois too.

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