Kids upset that sports are paused amid new Pennsylvania restrictions

SPRINGFIELD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Kids across Pennsylvania are sidelined, until January 4, with new statewide restrictions requiring all sports at every age level to pause.

Governor Tom Wolf's order states all players are affected, from the public to private schools, recreational, club, and travel sports.

"I was hurt, I guess because I didn't get to go to practice anymore," said 15-year-old Terrance Johnson of West Philadelphia.

State officials said they are taking these steps to make sure asymptomatic players aren't spreading COVID-19 at practices, in the locker room, and at games. They said there is a rise in cases among school-age children.

12-year-old Brandyn Ross spent a lot of time playing basketball before the coronavirus. He says he is diverting his extra time to grow his business, selling basketball bracelets.

"I think sports are really important because it helps kids understand what not to get into and stuff," said Ross.

Anti-violence advocates are warning that not all kids are using their extra time productively. Rickey Duncan, Executive Director with New Options, More Opportunities (NOMO) organization, said sports serve as a healthy outlet, and they are necessary to keep crime down.

"Idle time is the devil's play toy, and if you take everything from them, it leaves them nothing but the streets," said Duncan.

In the suburbs, the Springfield Athletic Association has canceled wrestling for the year, but the jury is still out on the basketball season.

Vice President and Director of Membership Michael Smith says they will reassess in January.

"It stinks for the kids, and I'm not going to lie it really does," said Smith. "They love getting out there. They love playing.

Smith says he sees why parents are upset, but he also understands why state officials are implementing the restrictions.

He adds that he is hopeful they will be able to resume sports in the spring.

"When it comes to outdoor sports, I really do believe outdoor sports are very safe because you can easily, social distance," Smith said. "You can easily keep it away from everybody. You're in the fresh air."
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