Dodgeball, as we all know, is an activity that involves a lot of swapping of bodily fluids (sweat, heavy breathing, etc) and, in past, some Dodgeball events have been the source of the spread of contagions. 1/3 of attendees at the Ontario 2018 Provincial Championships became violently ill within 3 days of the tournament, and not too long ago a large tournament in Winnipeg also saw many attendees fall ill following the event. As athletes, this is a risk we all understand when we step on the court. We accept some risk that we will either sustain an injury or catch something a teammate/opponent has. It is not that common in normal circumstances – in fact no event run by Dodgeball Winnipeg has seen widespread illness following an event – but all it takes is one contagious person and then it can spread rapidly, as demonstrated in the examples above.
Normally catching an illness is not a major concern in Dodgeball, as people self-select out of the activity when ill. Covid-19, as we are all aware, has the added issue of being transmissible while the carrier is asymptomatic. For this reason, we shut down in March and have remained closed as we believe it is very difficult to mitigate the risk to athletes when it is near-impossible to identify the carrier. We know most people would stay home if they knew they were carrying the virus, but as of right now, it is clear that it is near-impossible to know if you have it.
Manitoba as a province has been fortunate so far. Physical distancing and other preventative measures have allowed us to have a low transmission rate, and many days with no new infections, although there are still new infections happening regularly. At the time this post is being written, there are fewer than 20 active cases that the Province is aware of. For this reason, Manitoba’s Government is preparing to make it legal to operate team sports again this summer, but with modifications. They require that physical distancing be enforced, face to face contact minimized, and contact prevented. While dodgeball does not directly have bodily contact, the ball acts as an intermediary and for this reason it causes us concern. Depending on interpretation, this may or may not qualify us as being a contact sport.
We do still plan to resume activities in September, and run an early Fall season. At the current rate of the spread in Manitoba it appears that September is very likely to be a safe time to reopen, but we also have to acknowledge that there is demand for the sport and it may technically become legal to operate in a modified capacity once community centers reopen. We are here to serve you, and we want to gauge community sentiment.