MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is recommending vaccination to all student-athletes, coaches, athletic personnel and officials. This guidance comes from the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

“This decision was put forth after the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) issued their support and recommendation for vaccine eligible individuals involved in interscholastic athletics to get vaccinated,” said PIAA Associate Executive Director Melissa Mertz.

Officials will be required to be vaccinated to work inter-district competitions like playoffs, although the Mertz said those assignments are voluntary.

“It will be included with the other stipulations they agree to when/if they accept the contract to work inter-district contests,” Mertz said. “[Officials} can choose not to work inter-district contests.”

In minutes from the August 23 meeting, the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee unanimously voted to recommend vaccination to all eligible.

In addressing the concerns of parents about myocarditis risk in school-age children, SMAC used the following evidence at its August 2 meeting.

  • Myocarditis has been reported in approximately 1200 patients who have received the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) out of over 295 million doses given. When drilling down to the male population age 12-29 years, the estimated risk is 40 per 1 million, or 0.004%. The risk drops to 0.0004% in females and older populations. No deaths occurred from vaccine induced myocarditis.
  • The risk of myocarditis in an athlete after being diagnosed with COVID19 infection is now estimated to be between 0.5 – 3% based on professional and collegiate athletes who were studied extensively this past year.
  • In males 12-29, the risk of COVID 19 infection is estimated at 11,000 per 1million with 560 hospitalizations and 6 deaths
  • Full report can be found in full by clicking here

The committee concluded therefore that “risk of myocarditis post COVID 19 vaccination is very, very low in
adolescents and young adults; The risk of developing myocarditis and other morbidity post COVID infection appears to be significantly higher.”

The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is comprised of physicians, certified athletic trainers, other health professionals, and athletic administrators.

“The purpose of the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is to promote the health and safety of interscholastic athletes by serving in a medical advisory capacity to the PIAA Board of Directors,” according to the PIAA website.

This recommendation is in accordance with the CDC and the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations).