MDHHS requiring rapid antigen testing for athletes beginning April 2

BALDWIN – Oh-oh.

Michigan High School Athletic Association executive director Mark Uyl had a Friday afternoon virtual press conference to discuss Friday’s announcement by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services requiring rapid antigen testing for athletes beginning April 2.

Uyl stressed during his press conference that the winter sports tournaments will continue as scheduled.

He also said spring sports will start practices on Monday as previously determined. He said face masks requirements will continue.

But on April 2, all remaining winter sports athletes have to pass rapid antigen tests. He said it would be less than 2000 athletes affected with 896 wrestlers, who will continue to test 24 hours prior to competition.

All basketball teams in the quarterfinal levels will be impacted. This means 32 girls and 32 boys teams, Uyl added, impacting roughly 950 players still playing and needin to take the testing.

On Friday, Uyl said there are several questions the MHSAA does not have answers for until this weekend.

“We think much of it will be similar to what was done in the fall pilot program,” Uyl said. “It’s been done for weeks in wrestling, and will be the same general approach to other sports and we don’t have the answers at this time.”

The order on April 2 would require testing of spring sport athletes. Uyl said he wouldn’t know until Saturday if that would impact all spring sports, such as golfer and tennis players, who are not involved in contact.

“We don’t have the answers yet on frequency or any of those requirements,” Uyl said.

He noted the order covers athletes ages 13 to 19 who would be required to test. This means junior high middle school teams, which have high spring participation numbers.

“This will be a requirement across the board, and not just in school sports,” Uyl said. “Any youth, club travel organizations that every youth ages 13 to 19, as of April 2 would also have to go through a testing program.”

The key question the MHSAA needs to get an answer for will be the frequency of testing, Uyl said.

He said the cost for testing is zero dollars. The state health department provides the equipment.