LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted Sen. Dale Zorn’s resolution urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to lift the suspension on high school and youth sports and allow play to resume immediately.
“This is all about giving our kids opportunities and a healthy lifestyle. Sports foster valuable life skills, such as understanding, diversity and inclusion — not to mention responsibility and accountability, which builds character. It is everything one needs in the game that we call life,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “There is little data available that demonstrates why the continued suspension of high school sports is necessary. Students in Michigan are hurting. All they want is to be able to compete with their friends and to be the very best they can be. They don’t understand why their school experience, their lives, and potential scholarships have been blocked without explanation.
“Whether its education or sports, it’s about giving our kids good, wholesome opportunities for a lifetime of success. Let them play.”
Senate Resolution 7 says, “according to the executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the negative rate for over 30,000 rapid COVID-19 tests conducted over the last three months with fall sports was 99.8%.”
It also says that according to a national survey of more than 3,000 high school and college students regarding the coronavirus, 87% reported stress and anxiety, while 57% reported that their mental health had worsened. In addition, experts are concerned about potential further increases in youth suicide and argue that it is critically important for teenagers to have regular contact with their peers.
Prior to the Senate approving SR 7, Zorn welcomed several guests to testify about the measure during a committee hearing.
Let Them Play founder Jayme McElvany, Britton Deerfield Schools Superintendent Stacy Johnson, Britton Deerfield High School student-athlete Nico Johnson, and Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian School student-athlete Nataleigh Badgero spoke in favor of the measure.
“Our kids are losing their faith in government. It’s a sad state that we are in when an entire generation of kids who will soon be of voting age have lost all faith in having their voices heard by their elected officials,” McElvany said. “What should be happening is that the state of Michigan and the health department should be asking these high school athletes and coaches for help. They should be going to them to find out how to deal with this virus, because it seems like the athletes have figured something out that the rest of us haven’t. They have figured out how to produce a 99.8% negative test rate. They have figured out how to continually test at a lower rate than the general population and the general population of other teenagers. But what are they getting out of it? Punishment.”
Stacy Johnson said, “Our student athletes are capable of meeting the challenge of COVID while still engaging in sports; they’ve proven this already.”
Editor’s note: Video of Zorn’s floor remarks are available at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/video.
The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/photowire.