Springfield holds “Shot for Shot” basketball tournament to increase teen vaccinations

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Basketball and vaccinations came together for the first ever “Shot for Shot” basketball tournament at Forest Park.

While players worked up a sweat on the court, Springfield’s Vax Force held a vaccine clinic next door. They’re trying to reduce the high percentage of unvaccinated teens.

“73 percent of the cases we had last week were under the age of 30, so that’s alarming, said Helen Caulton-Harris, Springfield Health Commissioner. “We are doing our best to dispel those myths, that’s what we are doing today with our parents and the young people you see on the basketball courts.”

Mike: Are you vaccinated?

College student and former Putnam basketball player Jayson Green responded, “Not yet, but I have to before I go back to school, so I will be.”

Jayson was among the host of players in the tournament competing in the first round. They’ll be back in a few weeks to hopefully win it all in round 2, when players can come back and get their second shot.

It was shot for shot, so players could get shots in their arms, while taking shots out on the court. This of course was about having fun, while also educating about the importance of getting vaccinated right now.

“Get a shot, get a basketball shot, we all try to connect to what kids would understands so they can walk out of here and say, ‘hey we learned something other than basketball today,'” said Darryl Denson, coach and member of Shot for Shot committee.

Players taking home knowledge, gift cards, and the satisfaction of being better than kids they know.

“It’s bragging rights too. We have a lot of local guys who played in the high schools so they’re gonna talk about it,” said Denson.

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