Let Them Play to challenge mask mandate for youth sports

In a Wednesday press release, Let Them Play said it will file a new lawsuit “fighting Gov. Walz’s absurd decision to harm youth athletes by requiring masks during sports.” 

Student protesters pose for a picture ahead of an Anoka-Hennepin School Board vote on resuming school sports.

Let Them Play, a Minnesota nonprofit, plans to mount a legal challenge against Gov. Tim Walz’s mask mandate for youth sports.

Practices resumed Monday for public school sports, but masks are required at all times, including during play. As Alpha News reported Wednesday, some students have been collapsing during practices or suffering intense headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

In a Wednesday press release, Let Them Play said it will file a new lawsuit “fighting Gov. Walz’s absurd decision to harm youth athletes by requiring masks during sports.”

Let Them Play had previously sued Walz over his ban on youth sports, but withdrew the lawsuit after the governor loosened his restrictions.

“Returning to practice is one step forward, but imposing masks during sports [is] a dangerous two steps back for Minnesota’s young people,” said Let Them Play Executive Director Dawn Gillman. “We don’t want another kid to pass out, or worse, at practice or an upcoming game. We call on Gov. Walz to stop harming our athletes.”

The Minnesota Department of Health and Gov. Walz have “never offered data showing COVID is transmitted during sports and refuse to explain the misleading information they cite for limited sports,” according to Gillman.

The group also pointed out that the World Health Organization, Mayo Clinic, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t recommend the use of masks during vigorous exercise.

“Gov. Walz continues to irrationally harm Minnesota’s kids,” said Let Them Play’s attorney, Sam Diehl. “Let Them Play will continue the fight until Minnesota’s kids can safely play.”

Diehl also criticized the rapidly-evolving nature of MDH’s guidance on youth sports, which was published Tuesday morning and revised Wednesday night.

“Another day, another complete change to MDH’s guidance on sports,” he said. “It’s a full time job keeping up with what applies, let alone challenging it.”

Games and scrimmages will resume Jan. 14.