FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky high schools can continue with fall sports this year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Beshear won't overturn KHSAA fall sports decision

  • KHSAA voted last week to continue with fall sports

  • Families, student-athletes rallied at capitol earlier today

  • Beshear says he has right to step in if things get out of control

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced Monday that he wasn’t going to overturn a decision by the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) last week to allows fall sports.

“At some point, it can’t be every single decision comes to the governor, and the governor decides. If we’re truly going to beat this virus, we’ve got to have people throughout Kentucky making responsible, good decisions for those around them,” Beshear said. “While I ultimately have to lead the overall ship, if we don’t have leaders that are out there, it’s going to be really hard to do what we need to do to fight this virus.”

Athletes and their parents rallied at the Kentucky State Capitol before Monday’s announcement, urging the governor to let sports happen. 

“To me it seems like a risk worth taking,” Cooper High School senior Madeline Radcliffe said. “This is my last year. I’d rather risk it all to play one last time than to give it up if I don’t have to.”

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said high schools may run into testing issues, and athletes run the risk of developing a heart condition, myocarditis, if they get the coronavirus.

“I think this is more common than we realize,” Stack said. “And if you’re really unlucky, if you don’t have a sudden cardiac death, which is really severe, obviously, and irreparable but less common problem, you could have permanent heart failure.”

Beshear’s decision allows school boards to decide whether fall sports are safez, but he says he’ll step if proper precautions aren’t taken.

The decision by the KHSAA last week allows schools to start practicing this week. Competition will start Sept. 7 and football games start Sept. 11.