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From the Dugout - Know the Risks, Get Tested
Dec. 1, 2020
By Terry Hennessy
PHOENIX – The pandemic played hardball with the Winter Worlds here in November.
It started before the first pitch of the tournament.
Thirteen teams reported positive COVID-19 tests among their players and pulled out of the tournament in the 5 days leading up to play. It was the right thing for these teams to do; they were all very disappointed, but they did not want to spread the virus to other players.
Then, on the first day of the tournament, a player on a 75 AAA team did a face plant, was bloodied and injured in the fall and went to the hospital to be treated. He tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital.
I informed the manager that the team could not compete in the remainder of the tournament or come to the softball complex. The manager was very gracious and agreed.
Our field director, who helped treat the player and was exposed, was quarantined and later went home. Fortunately, he tested negative for the virus after his return home.
On my own 70AAA team, one player tested positive and had mild symptoms after returning from the tournament. The players who have been tested so far – including me – have been negative for the virus.
We also have received word from a 60 AAA team and two players on an 85 team tested positive. So far, the symptoms are not serious, according to the managers. Players in those divisions are recommended to get tested.
We will be doing a survey this week of managers of teams that participated in the Winter Nationals and Winter Worlds to find out if any other players tested positive. We will publish a list of the age and skill divisions of the team testing positive in the upcoming newspaper in mid-December.
Our goal is to be as transparent as possible about positive virus reports at SSUSA tournaments so that players can take the proper precautions – and so that teams know the risks when they decide to play.
Just know that I share your concerns, understand the risks and believe the protocols we have established minimize those very real risks, allowing many of us to compete. I look forward to seeing you on the field when you feel it is right for you to play!
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at email@example.com.