HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the pandemic rages on, youth sports advocates and city officials continue to debate the fate of youth sports, a conversation that involves balancing the risks and benefits of having kids back on the field, on the court or in the gym.
In recent weeks, parents and sports clubs have held rallies outside Honolulu Hale, attempting to put pressure on the city to ease restrictions and to let kids play sports in a lower tier. Youth sports are currently prohibited from resuming competition until Tier 4 of the city’s reopening plan.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he is unwilling to change course, given the potential for the virus to spread — and not just among the kids.
A panel of experts this week address whether they think sports should restart, whether it’s safe to do so, and what impact the current restrictions are having on Hawaii’s keiki. Panelists included:
- Dr. Elizabeth Ignacio, a local doctor who specializes in sports medicine.
- Hiro Toiya, the director of the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management.
- Sergio Bolioli, president of the Major Island Soccer Organization.
- Reggie Kirkman, president of the Youth Basketball of America Hawaii Chapter.
- Kenny Patton, a former UH football player and a local speed and quickness trainer.
- Dr. Mitch Rosenfeld, the head of contact tracing for the City and County of Honolulu.
You can listen to a podcast version of the town hall below:
The group also discussed the impact the pandemic is having on mental health, whether the return is worth the risk, and how the lack of sports activity is impacting long-term health for Hawaii’s children.
Watch some of our past town hall discussions by clicking here, or by using the video player below: