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With COVID already cancelling games, sports officials consider testing, mandating vaccines

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:35 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With three non-leagues games cancelled this weekend, some feel there are better solutions to allowing athletes to suit up.

Radford High School is clear to play Damien on their home turf Saturday.

“We’re excited to get the players out back out on the field,” said Radford High School’s head football coach, Fred Salanoa.

Coach Salanoa said they have taken every preventative measure they can think of from hand washing to fogging the locker rooms.

“It’s probably going to happen, we just have to try our best to be as safe as possible and try to do what is best for our team and our community,” said Salanoa.

But Kamehameha’s open division game against Mililani was postponed after someone in the Warriors program tested positive.

And according to OIA Football Director Harold Tanaka, Friday’s games featuring Campbell at Waipahu and Aiea at Leilehua have been cancelled due to COVID issues.

“We try our best to follow them to a tee, masking up is a big one, disinfecting, try to keep social distance as best as we can [but] it’s just hard in this particular sport,” said Leilehua High School’s head football coach, Mark Kurisu.

“You know, the thing is, is we can do everything right here on campus, we can do everything right here in our football team, but we cannot control what happens at home.”

Tanaka thinks the cancelations will continue and is in favor of mandating vaccines for athletes.

“I think it’s going to be like that the whole season until we get things corrected especially with vaccination rates going up,” said Tanaka.

“I’m just hoping that these games are not being called off because of one or two individuals,” said former NFL player, Rich Miano.

Miano said regular testing would also be effective if the state were to foot the bill.

“I know that there’s no money in the OIA, there’s no money in high school football, unfortunately,” said Miano. “But they need to test the youth and allow them to play because to me, this is a group of young people that have trained so hard for now over a year, almost two years to play in a football game.”

“And here we go again, canceled,” added Miano.

“It’s not a perfect world but if we could test twice a week, that’d be fantastic,” said Tanaka. “That’d be ideal.”

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