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Without high school sports due to lockdown, Michigan families say students face 'emotional' and 'mental' strains

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Posted at 5:10 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 18:30:33-05

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — The continued lockdown of high school sports by the Whitmer administration has gone from the hardwood basketball court to hardball in the Michigan Court of Claims. A new lawsuit filed by a group called "Let Them Play" spells out real stories and real ramifications of students and their families.

RELATED: 'Let Them Play' sues state health department hoping to force return of contact sports

In a letter to new MDHHS Dir. Elizabeth Hertel, attorneys for "Let Them Play Michigan" and several others, including high school athletes, urge state officials to issue a new emergency health order allowing for the immediate return of winter contact sports practices and games.

The group claims that among other things, the current health order is "arbitrary and unconstitutional."

"Unfortunately, this morning, we had to take action we would have preferred not to take," attorney Peter Rudell said. "We filed a lawsuit against MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel in her official capacity."

Christina Brasel’s son Zach Ingalls plays on the Temperance-Bedford High School hockey team.

The district is in Michigan and over the border in Ohio. The team is unable to play and practice but Christina says her son watches as Ohio teams play games there with people in the stands. She’s also an ER nurse and says the emotional and mental pain for teens is real.

The lawsuit spells out how Brian and Rona Dethloff’s son Carter may have committed suicide in Muskegon after being unable to play hockey and died in a one-car crash on Jan. 18.

John Kraemer of Shelby Township has taken his son Jack to play hockey in several states since the lockdown started in November. He also says this is about the future as standout athletes are not being seen by college scouts and could lose sports scholarships.

The sports lockdown remains in effect until Feb. 21.

MDHHS says the delay from Feb. 1 to Feb. 21 is due to concerns that playing contact sports could further spread the virus, a worry only growing with new cases of the COVID-19 variant in metro Detroit.

According to MDHHS, there were 42 outbreaks associated with sports of some kind back in August and September before contact sports restrictions were put in place. But Rudell says a state high school athletic association study shows sports at the high school don't pose a serious threat of spread.

It is not known when the court will take up the lawsuit.

2-2-2021 - Let Them Play Complaint - Full Packet by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

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