It’s been months since Kolby Kingshott’s modified baseball season began with strict COVID-19 guidelines. It was shortened, but it was something.
It ended in October.
Now, the same strict health guidelines that have ended the hockey season for winter athletes, it’s done the same for his winter baseball training. It was three times a week and weekends as well.
Now the 16-year-old is sharing the letter he wrote to health officials and politicians, including Premier Jason Kenney. His words that he posted on Facebook have garnered thousands of views.
“After seeing my doctor, we found out I had stomach ulcers. Stomach ulcers I had never had before COVID. Stomach ulcers caused by stress,” he wrote.
The Calmar teen is a back catcher for the U18 AA Leduc Giants. He says his health suffered shortly after latest guidelines regarding recreational activities went into effect. He says it was exacerabated by the isolation that online schooling temporarily brought due to COVID concerns.
That’s when feelings of anxiety and stress began, and it hasn’t gone away.
“First day of second semester at school, I would say it was nine in the morning, and I was just going into class and I had a panic attack that lasted until about 12, 12:30.”
His mother, Corina Heppner says the loss of sports was the big contributor to Kolby’s health issues and the isolation from his team and then his classmates for so long, amplified it.
“This is just something we can’t fix. We can’t give them their sports back, we can’t give them their friends back” Corina says.
Dr. Salima Meherali from the University of Alberta’s nursing department says worldwide studies are now underway about the negative impact on children regarding the cancellation of sports and recreational activities due to COVID. Kids in Kolby’s age range, 10-19 years old, are seeing the worst effects from it.
‘Many of the children are showing the symptoms of fear anxiety depression, psychosomatic complaints, changes in their eating habits, their sleeping habits she told CTV News Edmonton.
And she adds that in some cases, if help isn’t accessed, kids may try to find other ways to cope on their own.
“Young people who are struggling to manage their emotional health turning toward using drugs,” she said.
Kolby did reach out for help. He is seeing a therapist and is on medication for his ulcers. And he sent the letter he posted on Facebook to the Premier to let him know how he is feeling. He says it sums up how much he identifies with baseball.
“Sports is my life. if you take away my sports you take away everything.”
Kolby tells us he can identify with winter athletes, just like him now faced with cancelled seasons. Hoping they too, can take care of their physical and mental health, while waiting to get back in the game.