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Olympians, OC Officials Push For Youth Sports To Resume

TUSTIN (CBSLA) — A group of Olympic athletes along with Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow youth sports competitions to resume.

Currently, California health officials only allow teams to conduct drills and training exercises. The teams are not yet permitted to play against each other competitively.

On Monday, sports professionals took to a podium at Tustin Sports Park for a chance to persuade local leaders they can resume games safely.

"This is heartbreaking to see our youth go through," said Olympic gold medalist Jessica Hardy Meichtry.

Hardy Meichtry said she's been taking her kids to swim practice and says she isn't worried about the virus when protocols are followed.

"The fact that they are taking such safe protocols to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible, I feel more than safe," she said. "I feel safer than I've ever felt in my life."

Wagner talked about the possible impact the lack of youth sports is having on mental health. He believes parents should be given the option to allow their kids to return to sports safely.

"We are hearing about more and more people with suicidal thoughts, depression — and it's a result of this lockdown," Wagner said. "The parents are not going to send their kids out if they don't feel safe. Let us find ways to open safely. Let us find ways now to do it, because our kids are suffering."

Wagner, who has been a frequent critic of Newsom, said the governor has been "erratic" in managing the response to the pandemic and has failed to provide a "comprehensive plan."

Health officials have said that younger children and younger adults may be less prone to certain serious illnesses when it comes to coronavirus, but many epidemiologists say there is a risk of children and young adults passing in the virus to older, more vulnerable people.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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