Special Olympics Missouri cancels State Indoor Games over coronavirus concerns

Special Olympics Kansas also cancels select events
Posted at 2:21 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 16:46:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Special Olympics Missouri has canceled the upcoming State Indoor Games over coronavirus concerns.

The event, which includes bowling and basketball games, had been scheduled for March 20-21 in St. Charles, according to the organization's website.

It is the second statewide tourney Special Olympics Missouri has been forced to cancel in the last year.

The 2019 State Summer Games, which were scheduled for May 31 to June 2 last year, were canceled after the organization's headquarters were damaged by a tornado.

In a video posted on Facebook, Special Olympics Missouri President and CEO Susan Stegeman said that officials “strongly requested” that the event be canceled after a “presumptive positive” case of COVID-19 was identified in the St. Louis area.

“Because of how this virus spreads and how it disproportionately affects the elderly and vulnerable populations, such as those with disabilities, preexisting conditions, and compromised immune systems, we could not in good faith safely conduct this competition,” Stegeman said in the video.

Stegeman said the "health and safety" of athletes was the organization’s biggest concern.

More than 3,000 athletes and coaches were set to compete in the State Indoor Games, according to the Special Olympics Missouri website.

Special Olympics Kansas previously announced Monday that it was canceling a range of events through March 23.

The 2020 State Basketball and Cheerleading Tournaments, which were scheduled for March 14-15 in Topeka and March 20-21 in Hays, have been canceled along with all Youth Athletes Programs and all local team practices scheduled for March 9-23.

The KU Unified Basketball Championship game, which had been scheduled for March 19, also been canceled.