Youth sports groups question Minnesota COVID-19 restrictions

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Internal e-mails show state leaders concerned last fall about how to present an unpopular pause on high school and club athletics.

The Hill-Murray boys’ hockey team, pictured here in January, was knocked out of the state tournament in March because of a COVID-19 exposure involving its opponent in the section finals.

Minnesota’s controversial pause on youth sports last fall received new attention Monday as lawmakers and sports advocates accused Gov. Tim Walz and state health leaders of overselling the danger of athletes spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable people such as long-term care residents.

The Let Them Play MN group that opposed many sports-related pandemic restrictions obtained thousands of pages of internal state e-mails from last fall and raised concern about one in which a spokesperson advised promoting the pause by connecting youth sports infections to severe COVID-19 cases in long-term care.

“As [people] push back on youth sports and whether they really need to be ended … we need to more explicitly tie youth sports to LTC.

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