Whooping cough jeopardizes Whidbey Little League tournaments

Whidbey Island Little League officials are huddling, wondering whether to scratch tournament games due to a whooping cough outbreak.

Twenty-two cases of whooping cough, also called pertussis, have been confirmed on Whidbey Island according to Dr. Roger Case, Island County's health officer, and the situation could put Little League All-star tournaments, now in progress, in jeopardy. The number of reported cases has doubled in the last week.

A article appearing late Tuesday in the Everett Herald stated that health officials were recommending, but not requiring, that Little League and girls softball All-Star tournament games be called off to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Ken Tyler, president of the North Whidbey Little League, said Wednesday that someone forwarded him the article from the Herald and he had just read it.

"The first I heard about it was last night when they called me and I don't know anything about a whooping cough outbreak," he said. "So far, I haven't noticed anything among any of the players in the tournament here in Oak Harbor."

Tyler said Little League District 11 Administrator Paul Williams called Little League International asking for guidance, but hasn't heard anything back from them as yet.

"We will do whatever they tell us to do," Tyler said. "This is a first for me in my 30 years with Little League."

As of Wednesday morning, Tyler said games at the juniors tournament at Fort Nugent Park and the 9-to-10 year old and 10 to 11 year-old tournaments at Windjammer Park, are continuing as scheduled.

Bobby Martin, Central Whidbey Little League president, said he also just received a copy of the Herald's article.

Martin said District 11 Administrator Williams is in contact with the Health Department and will be following their advice should he receive any information.

"Paul is a doctor so he knows what should they should be looking for," Martin said.

Martin said right now he has no knowledge of any tournament games being cancelled, either the ones in Oak Harbor or the 11 to-12-year-old tournament now being played in Burlington.

"We will wait for direction from Williams, Little League International and, of course, the Health Department," Martin said.

The 9 to 10 year-old and 11-to-12 year old Little League girl's softball tournaments have been completed and the junior's tournament is scheduled to be held in Sedro-Woolley July 13 through 18.

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