WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita is giving youth football the go-ahead for now, but coaches are weighing on whether they should or not.
“I think a lot of coaches want to play,” says Manuel Martinez.
“Hands down, absolutely,” adds Mark Johnson. “My son plays football, and I love football season and I would love to have a season.”
Martinez coaches the Wichita Aztecs and Johnson mans the Wichita Bears.
Both Johnson and Martinez are friends and both have opinions on the virus.
“We know that if you wear a mask that there is a possibility that it could shut things down, in reference to spreading, but it does not keep you from getting it,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Martinez knows all to well what it is like to have COVID-19.
“The fatigue was unbearable and not being able to breathe, body aches, and everything else,” Martinez said. “I don’t wish that upon anybody.
He and his wife defeated the virus, but he knows someone who has lost the battle.
That is not lost on Johnson, but he still wants to play and give kids a constructive outlet for the summer and fall.
“You want to be sensitive to life, but we also do not want to be oversensitive to the point where it could affect so many other lives,” Johnson said.
At the moment, the city plans to move forward with the season, but Martinez would prefer to wait until spring.
“Me, personally, not to have a season. Let it run its course. Let’s see if we get a vaccine,” Martinez said.
Johnson, on the other hand, is willing to do whatever it takes to get teams on the field.
“I believe that if it came down to the kids wearing a mask in their football helmet to save the football season I am sure they would be willing to do that,” Johnson said.
“You hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” Martinez said.
KSN asked the city about requiring players to wear face shields or masks. Officials say they are waiting for recommendations from KSHSAA.
KSHSAA tells KSN it plans to have guidelines for youth football later in July.
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