Mount Sterling dad sues KHSAA over ‘return to play’ protocols

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MT. STERLING, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Montgomery County parent is going to “Bat” for his son after discovering a positive COVID test could mean losing crucial playing time for student athletes.

For many athletes ,playing time is more than just exercise it’s a chance to create opportunities beyond high school.

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“Kelly” Johnson’s son, Davis, is a junior on the baseball team at Montgomery County High School in Mt. Sterling.

He says missing out on a season last year has already been hard for his son and the recently announced KHSAA COVID protocols add to it.

“And I thought that was extreme, it’s just something that’s so outside the norm that I felt like I had to fight that,” says Johnson.

The family ended up filing a lawsuit against KHSAA for its rule requiring a student athlete to sit out 22 days after a positive test.

Johnson believes it’s excessive considering the Southeastern Conference’s return to play policy is only 14 days.

“If a Kentucky basketball player only has to sit out 14 days then a Kentucky school child should only have to sit out” the same time, says Johnson.

In addition to sitting out for more than three weeks, athletes also are required to be cleared by a medical professional.

“It’s requiring a cardiac visit. I had to have something taken off my arm and it took me five weeks to get an appointment with a dermatologist. How long is it going to take a kid to see a cardiologist?” adds Johnson.

The family’s lawyer, Trip Redford says he’s seen this sort of suit before.

In his experience, he says schools can make up their own rules, including how their athletic programs operate.

“Basically the point of the lawsuit we filed is while some people may not like it, I think we’ve essentially come to the conclusion that people are following the CDC guidelines to deal with COVID, well what you have here is the KHSAA has taken the CDC guidelines and added on a couple more layers,” says Redford.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association says it hasn’t received a notice of the lawsuit and will not comment until it does.

Johnson says he’s hoping a judge will grant an emergency injunction, that would call a “time out” to KHSAA protocol if deemed unfair in comparison to the guidelines of other sports.

“That pause will go from Pikeville to Paducah. It would be a state-wide injunction,” says Johnson.

The Johnson family and their lawyer expect some sort of result in the coming days.