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Welcome back to Phil for the Game, your glimpse into the sports community of Boone County.

I hope you and your family are safe and sound in a time that is stressful for parents and coaches alike. Originally, my intent was to put together a sports news story about parents around the county who had decided to withhold their student-athletes from fall sports amid concerns regarding COVID-19.

I made a post on Facebook that was a “call out” to parents who were interested in voicing their thoughts, and I was pleased that I had three interested participants.

What I found was that some parents were willing to talk about it, but they didn’t want to do it “on the record” because their fear was that their child may be judged or singled out in some way.

With this being understandable, I decided to make this part of my sports column instead of a news story. For the sake of identification and separation of families, we’ll call them Parent 1, Parent 2 and Parent 3, with each being a resident in Boone County with at least one child set to participate in a fall sport.

Parent 1 said a primary concern was an elderly member of the family who lived within the home and is suffering from multiple health issues.

“It is tough when your kid works hard and prepares the way you’d want them to for a sport, and then you have to make a decision like this,” said Parent 1.

“I’ve prayed about it, talked to our pastor and talked to a family doctor and we are going to hold them (child) out for this fall. I’m not interested in isolating members of our family because they are playing a sport that is considered a contact sport to me, anyway. We haven’t had that talk yet, but we are going to discuss it this week and as of right now, unless something makes us see it another way, we’re holding them out.”

Parent 2 said school is a big enough bridge to cross without the added stress of a sport that is played indoors.

“I cannot with a clear conscience put them at risk,” Parent 2 said. “I work in the medical field, I see this every day and what I put myself through at the end of my shift to ensure that I don’t bring this home to my family is a process I won’t put my child through for a sport. We’ve made decisions regarding school as well that I won’t discuss because I don’t want them to be identified by their peers, but without a doubt, this is what is best for our family and we are sticking to it. Spring sports is an option, but we’ll see where we are in December.”

Parent 3 said they do not have any elderly family members living in their home, but grandparents are an active part of the children’s life. One parent in the household has a medical condition that is considered higher risk in relation to COVID-19. Their child plays multiple sports and they are still undecided.

“We are really undecided at this point,” said Parent 3. “They have worked their butt off preparing for this season. We have an elderly family member not living with us who has a compromised immune system due to medication and we see them multiple times a week. We have another with black lung who we see often. We’ve thought about living alone and isolating but in the end, I trust my child’s decisions and the actions of their coaches — but what about the other team’s coaches? Are they being upfront regarding potential exposure? All of these things concern us and we will be making a decision in short order, but it definitely won’t be an easy one. We have to handle this right. This is our family.”

I think that moving forward, we’ll learn more and be able to make decisions for our families based on real-time data. In a future column, I’ll talk to coaches about what they plan to do to create safe environments for student-athletes on their rosters.

The start date for fall sports practices has been set back from Aug. 3 to Aug. 17 by the Secondary School Activities Commission.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or at 304-307-2401.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or at 304-307-2401.