A youth baseball team in Texas is requiring kids to get a COVID vaccine to play in a tournament that they have been preparing for since 2018 — but the players aren’t even old enough to qualify for it.
The Texas Drillers have been preparing to travel to the Baseball Hall of Fame and play in a tournament in New York for the last three years. The team has spent approximately $17,000 on flights, rental homes and equipment.
“It’s amazing,” Dillon Norris, a Texas Drillers player, said of the tournament. “It’s probably the best thing that happened to me this year. It would be pretty special, because I don’t know a lot of people who played up there.”
However, ABC 13 reports that Cooperstown Dreams Park, who is hosting the tournament, released a statement saying in order to participate, the 12-year-old athletes must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
The statement reads:
“All participants, coaches and campers 12 years and older must be immunized. Immunization requirements: COVID-19 (campers under 12 years of age are exempt, but must provide a negative test upon arrival), diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, tetanus and varicella a/k/a chickenpox. Cooperstown Dreams Park is hopeful that the vaccines will be available a minimum of twenty-one days prior to any registration date. Cooperstown Dreams Park will, if necessary modify registration date by registration date until a vaccine is available for 12 year olds and older.
Registered visiting family members 12 years and older are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to gain entry. Visitors 11 years and younger must provide proof of a negative test result upon arrival. Unregistered visitors will not be permitted entry into Cooperstown Dreams Park. This season, we anticipate hundreds of communities will have the opportunity to experience Cooperstown Dreams Park, the Cooperstown area and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Texas Drillers General Manager Paul Edmond told the station that he felt the rule was onerous.
“We felt like there are other options that we wanted for our kids if we wanted to play baseball, so we’re going to pursue those options,” Edmonds said.
RIDICULOUS: Youth Baseball Team Must Get Vaccinated To Play In Tournament https://t.co/PYogeASDoL
— Chief America 1st Trumpster (President Elect) (@ChiefTrumpster) April 15, 2021
There are currently no COVID vaccinations available or approved for children under 16.
It is currently legal for Cooperstown Dreams Park to only allow people who are vaccinated to participate, but that could change if the governor issues an order, ABC 13 noted.