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Madison County leaders: Playing fall sports important, but has risks during pandemic

Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said sports could cause an outbreak of coronavirus cases.

Posted: Jul 27, 2020 7:06 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2020 7:27 PM

Monday, as high schools athletes start practice and major league baseball postpones games due to coronavirus, we asked local leaders if they think it’s safe and worth the risk.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers both said they know how important sports are to the community, but Spillers said with sports in play there is a risk for an outbreak of cases.

"I think a lot of us almost feel sports are essential, but they're not," Battle said.

Battle explained he's looking to health care leaders in the community to help school districts determine if sports are safe.

Spillers said Monday there are no school-aged children in the hospital in Madison County with coronavirus currently.

"I think it's very possible you'll see outbreaks of people who get COVID in that age group from team sports," he said.

Contact sports could change how many kids get sick by a lack of being able to follow health guidelines, Spillers explained.

"Anybody playing sports is going to be at risk, just like any other person who is not socially separating and (wearing) a mask, so I think they're at risk for getting COVID," he said.

The hospital’s infectious disease expert Dr. Ali Hassoun said last week that high school sports should not be played during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spillers knows the decision is up to schools and, ultimately, families.

"Families who have children who are going to play team sports need to determine if they're willing to accept the risk of somebody getting COVID from a team sport," he said.

While students who attend all three public school districts in Madison County will only learn online the first nine weeks, both said making the decision if sports should be allowed isn't an easy one.

"I would love nothing better than to see team sports happen this fall. I'll leave it up to our health officials to determine if it should happen or if it should not," Battle said.

"Telling a senior in high school he's not going to play football this year might be as devastating as getting COVID and staying at home for two weeks, so I think everyone's has got to look at that risk and determine whether they're willing to accept that or not," Spillers added.

None of the three school districts in Madison County have released what their plans are for sports this fall. Madison County schools said it is meeting in the next few days to discuss education, sports, and all things returning to school.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
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Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
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Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 192995

Reported Deaths: 2377
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30953459
Davidson26630306
Hamilton951995
Knox949779
Rutherford936189
Williamson531036
Sumner486598
Wilson351945
Putnam334940
Montgomery311144
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Bradley296217
Madison292164
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Blount253524
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Washington232836
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Sullivan219733
Hamblen193926
Tipton183219
Gibson170423
Trousdale16667
Hardeman158226
Wayne14995
Dyer138714
Bedford136417
Dickson127415
Coffee125413
Cumberland121718
Weakley120519
Fayette120419
Anderson120013
Obion119110
Henderson118924
Loudon11846
Carter117728
Greene116144
McMinn114625
Jefferson113014
Warren10757
Lawrence106713
Macon106721
Monroe105218
Hardin104716
Lauderdale99416
Haywood99221
Franklin9899
Lake9252
Roane9055
Carroll89920
McNairy89618
Bledsoe8624
White8479
Rhea84412
Hawkins82218
Cheatham81510
Marshall7785
Overton7586
Cocke7549
Smith73111
Johnson7262
Chester64310
Giles63117
Henry6289
Lincoln6241
Hickman5938
DeKalb57014
Crockett54219
Marion5338
Decatur5307
Fentress5263
Campbell4544
Claiborne4425
Polk39910
Grainger3863
Union3642
Benton3379
Jackson3315
Morgan3203
Grundy3095
Cannon2920
Unicoi2891
Humphreys2583
Sequatchie2381
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