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Coronavirus

DeWine Encourages Student Athletes To Get Vaccine

 Governor Mike DeWine joined community members at Thomas Worthington High School to encourage student athletes to get vaccinated.
Michael Lee
/
WOSU
Governor Mike DeWine joined community members at Thomas Worthington High School to encourage student athletes to get vaccinated.

Governor Mike DeWine joined community members and health officials on Friday to encourage student athletes to get vaccinated.

Last year, many sports lost their seasons to COVID-19, but DeWine said this year will be different. Flanked by high school athletes and coaches at Thomas Worthington High School outside Columbus, Dewine said vaccines will almost guarantee that teams will have a full season.

"Athletes will be able to compete, and their biggest worry will not be COVID," DeWine said. "Their biggest worry will be the team they're preparing for, or the athletes they're preparing for."

Pickerington Central High School football and basketball player Sonny Styles is one of those athletes looking to compete next year. He is also vaccinated. He said getting the vaccine was a "no brainer," as it meant not having to worry about testing positive for COVID or contact tracing.

"You don't want to be that guy that would end your teammate's season, so that was always a big worry for me," Styles said.

Bill Darling is the cross country and track coach at Thomas Worthington High School — and happens to also be DeWine's son-in-law. Darling said last fall, they had around 40% fewer students on the cross country team. But while he saw things improve in the spring, he said he still encourages everyone — students and student athletes — to get vaccinated.

"Make sure that you do get vaccinated and that you give your team every chance to have a successful season."

While Ohio is not requiring student athletes to get vaccinated, DeWine held up the Memorial Golf Tournament as a warning. Then-frontrunner Jon Rahm tested positive for COVID and had to withdraw from the competition.

"An athlete can have something that is very disappointing to them if they have COVID or if they've been exposed to someone who has COVID," DeWine said. "This thing is not over yet. And we want our athletes to be able to enjoy their season, compete and do what they want to do."