The battle to kick the deadly Ebola Virus Disease from Liberia will demand the urgent attention by Liberian athletes to avoid contact sports, says Mr. V. Murvee Gray, assistant minister for sports.
His appeal comes in the wake of reports that Liberian athletes are playing kickball and soccer in the various communities in Monrovia and its environs.
Which, Minister Gray said in an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday in Monrovia, “It is not in support of the Liberian government’s effort to fight the deadly virus.”
Minister Gray said athletes who are involved in contact sports must realize that they are putting their lives at risk, by refusing to adhere to preventive measures announced by the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.
“The athlete must know that he has a responsibility to ensure that the effort to kick Ebola out of Liberia rest on him,” he said.
He emphasized on contact sports, including soccer, kickback, handball and basketball but said athletes can engage in individual training, to keep them in shape.
“You can warm-up alone,” he said, “which does not mean you need to engage anyone or get involved in any other athlete.”
Though he admitted it is difficult to prevent athletes from playing contact sports, but said it is important for athletes to know that these are normal times, and they must decide to avoid contact sports.
“Athletes must understand the danger that we are facing today in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease,” he said.
Minister Gray, a former athlete and administrator, asked community leaders to support the national effort against the deadly virus.
“We are asking them to supervise their children who are engaged in contact sports,” he said.
Minister Gray revealed that the annual County Meet cannot take place until Liberia succeeds in its fight against Ebola.
“We’ve completed the rules, groupings and the fixture for the next County Meet,” he said, “but we cannot host the meet until there is no Ebola in Liberia.”
He said as a result reports by some players that they are training for the County Meet is unrealistic.
He urged parents and community leaders in the various counties, districts, and clans to continue to educate their families with information provided by the Ministry of Health to fight the virus to ensure total eradication of the virus from the country.
“Then,” he said, “we’ll play all kinds of sports.”