SKUBICK: Let Them Play coalition not dropping legal action after sports resume

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Thousands gathered outside the Michigan State Capital, on Jan. 30, 2021, for the third ‘Let them Play’ rally of the school year. This was to protest a decision made by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to postpone high school winter contact sports.

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Let Them Play coalition is not dropping their legal action after Governor Whitmer allowed in-person high school sports to resume.

The coalition rallied around reopening high school sports after Governor Whitmer shut them down due to COVID-19. They got their wish, as high school sports resumed play on Monday instead of the original date of Feb. 21.

However, the coalition’s legal team is not yet ready to drop their suits.

The Governor’s office released their guidelines for mandatory testing of athletes and coaches, and Peter Ruddell, the lawyer for Let Them Play, is reviewing the guidelines and is prepared to continue the fight if the guidelines are unacceptable.

The interim guidelines can be read here.

If necessary, he said he’ll play the age discrimination card, as college and professional sports were allowed to continue during the shutdown.

“I’ve talked to many parents who are frankly frustrated about the future of their children, and their emotional and mental wellbeing,” he said.

Previously, the Let Them Play group has sued the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Elizabeth Hertel, claiming the ban violates the Constitution.

Also among those who sued Hertel were Brian and Rona Dethloff, whose son, a Mona Shores hockey player, died of suicide Jan. 18. The suit blames the death on “mental struggles he endured from the continued delays in winter sports in Michigan.” Their other son is also a hockey player.

Last week, Let Them Play supporters rallied outside the State Capitol and representatives of the org testified in front of the State Senate.

Many who support the movement cite the affects the ban has had on student-athletes mental health.

“I don’t think they realize what this has done the all mental health and everything,” said DeWitt High School student, Emily at the rally.

Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has the latest in the video above.

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