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Impact of school and activity cancellations with Wisconsin’s high school athletes

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March was the beginning of a long tough stretch for the high school athletic scene. The pandemic not only shut schools down, but cancelled many extracurricular activities including the entire spring sports season.

"What we're seeing, these school closures and sports cancellations are associated with worsening health," said UW Hospital researcher Dr. Tim McGuine.

McGuine surveyed over three thousand high school athletes across the state early in the pandemic to test for mental health, physical activity and health related quality of life.

"We know, previous studies have talked about that prolonged quarantines or issues where you lock people down, that does impact mental health," said McGuine.

His study from the survey showed that 65% of the athletes reported anxiety symptoms during May. Another 68% of the athletes reported symptoms of depression while being unable to participate in athletics during the pandemic.

"I don't want to put elderly people at risk for getting back to sports," said McGuine. "At the same time we have to understand there might be some compromise we can do."

A popular question now is, will there be a high school fall sports season in Wisconsin.

Dave Anderson - Executive Director of the WIAA

According to the WIAA, none of their member schools have yet to cancel a fall season. For now the WIAA is leaving that decision up to the schools and local health departments.

"We will be doing, as I shared with the Assembly Committee that if our member schools are open and if they choose to have a sports season and wish to have a tournament the staff of the WIAA will do everything to be in position to help support that," said Dave Anderson, Executive Director of the WIAA.

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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