As commissioner of the James Vick Foundation’s Dream League, a statewide girl’s lacrosse summer league that has successfully navigated the pandemic, I would like to offer advice to Major League Baseball and all other sports leagues, both professional and amateur, attempting to restart amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is relentless, an invisible enemy that feasts upon human irresponsibility. In this environment, the only way to outsmart the virus is with responsibility. Anything less is beyond irresponsible, its arrogant.
The concept of having teams travel on planes, navigate flight terminals and visit different hotels will make it virtually impossible for any organization to safely reopen the season. Youth sports have the advantage of being played locally throughout an entire season, but extremely stringent testing measures will be necessary for any league hoping to make it through an entire season.
Before competition commenced, I called for the formation of a medical committee, chaired by a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience, to oversee COVID-19 testing procedures and safety protocol compliance.
Each team had a group of volunteers who were charged with maintaining compliance at each practice and game —including temperature checks and the wearing of face masks when not on the field.
We did not wait until the problem had spiraled out of control to implement compliance officers; they were a critical component of safely launching league play from day one.
During the season, I also required all my athletes who chose to leave the state or to play with another team to be retested upon return, or they could not resume participation with their respective teams.
I, along with a team of volunteers successfully navigated this virus for a six-week season with 234 young female athletes across 10 towns in Connecticut. Since practices started June 22nd, there have been zero positive tests and no spikes, and that is not an accident.
We have strict protocols in place, that each athlete agreed to adhere to before she was allowed to play, that reflect science, not politics. This fight requires the powers that be to recognize and adapt to this new world we are living in. If you fail to do that, people die.
MLB, and any other sports organization that fails to properly prepare to combat this pandemic, will have blood on their hands.