Special Olympics canceled amid coronavirus concern

The Special Olympics Area 22 Games, set for March 27, were called off on March 10 due to health concerns.

“The eboard of Cardinals for Special Olympics … along with our general committee, has been working hard as year to prepare, fund-raise and organize the games,” said Mary Brege, vice president for Cardinals for Special Olympics. “It’s sad not to see hard work come to fruition.”

“The decision was made by Special Olympics Michigan to cancel not only the Area 22 Games, but also all other practices and competitions in the state of Michigan,” Brege said. “The main factor in this cancellation was the health and safety of our athletes and volunteers, as there are concerns about the coronavirus spreading.”

Brege explained that the games bring together hundreds of athletes and volunteers.

“Having that many people in one place at one time when viruses and sicknesses are going around might put everyone at risk,” she said.

Like many other RSOs, Cardinals for Special Olympics decided to cancel the rest of their events.

“Seeing as classes are remote for basically the rest of the semester, we have decided to cancel the rest of our meetings for the semester,” she said. “We know a lot of people might go home this month, so participation would be low.”

Brege said their eBoard tried to make other plans to make up for the cancellation of the spring games.

“We briefly discussed having ‘makeup games’ in the summer and fall, but we were just spit-balling ideas,” she said. “It takes a ton of planning and organizing to make the games happen, and it truly does take all year to organize. Holding and impromptu games is something that is not easily done.”

Despite all the time and effort lost to the cancellation, Brege said she and the rest of the organization understood it was for the best.

“We’re bummed because our athletes have so much fun at the games, and they won’t get to participate this year,” she said. “That being said, we understand the precaution and support it. We would not want the games to be the reason someone got sick.”

Sam Justice, the RSO’s treasurer, agreed that the cancellation was for the best.

“It’s a little unfortunate for the volunteers who were looking forward to the games, but it’s probably a good thing that it got canceled, at least for the athletes, since some of them are immuno-compromised,” she said. “Hopefully something can be worked out … because the athletes always look forward to the games.”

The decision will be reevaluated on March 31, Brege said, but will continue to depend on health risks.

“We care about our athletes and our volunteers, and their health and safety come first,” she said.

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