I would like to discuss a subject that has seemed to be ignored during the entire pandemic. Organized sports. From recreational leagues to high school. Especially when considering our current public health disaster.
The state of Kansas (and the entire U.S. for that matter) is seeing the highest number of cases and deaths we have witnessed yet during this pandemic. We are shipping patients all over the state depending on who has an open bed that day for emergencies and routine inpatient care needs.
If a patient in a small western Kansas hospital needs ICU care, they will likely be shipped out of state. That is, if we can even find a bed. A five-person car wreck will likely be shipped hours away and all members to a different hospital. If we can find an bed.
This is not dramatizing the situation. This is not a TV show. This is real life, happening in our state, right now.
And yet, we continue to attend and practice for a game. The same game you can play with your child in the backyard and not spread disease. It’s hypocrisy and idiocy at its best.
I have heard countless people say, well COVID-19 is not a threat to me. It may not be. But heart disease, strokes, cancer, car accidents, regular pneumonia, UTIs, etc. are a threat.
Our current hospital system is at such a crisis that hospitals do not have the beds available. There are cities with tents up for patient care in Kansas; there are hospitals out of negative pressure rooms and double bedding patients, and we are caring for ICU patients in hospitals that haven’t cared for these types of patients in decades!
Not just because of COVID, but because of normal disease plus COVID.
Yet, organized sports move along. As if a global pandemic, public health disasters and death is someone else’s problem.
I have spoken to school boards and commissioners who state they continue organized sports due to mental health concerns. Believe me, everyone is dealing with that right now. There have to be other avenues of coping than becoming a super-spreader event.
It is an excuse that falls on deaf ears to those working in the healthcare field.
Currently, KDHE recommends canceling all such events. Yet, we continue with organized sports. Due to our current Legislature and policies, each individual county and system can make their own decisions regarding organized sports. This is insanity.
I understand sports are important in learning team work, camaraderie and trust. But in a pandemic, it teaches them that me is more important than us.
We are allowing a game to become bigger than a global health care disaster. We can do better.
Jesica Brown, of Lindsborg, is a mother, spouse and physician trying to juggle it all and make a difference.