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Utah Diaper Ban Kept Some Special Olympians Out of Pool

Utah Diaper Ban Kept Some Special Olympians Out of Pool



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A state ban on diapers in public swimming pools sidelined some athletes at a Special Olympics event at the University of Utah.

Many swimmers were aware of the rules and didn't compete last week. But one family apparently forgot about the restriction, leading to a tense scene Friday when a lifeguard spotted a woman hurriedly removing a dry diaper from her 14-year-old daughter.

Swimmers in diapers have been banned in many public pools since Aug. 28 to stop the spread of cryptosporidium, a parasite that can cause severe diarrhea. It can spread in water contaminated with human feces.

More than 1,800 cases have been reported this year in Utah.

Although the 14-year-old's diaper was removed before entering the pool, it was a sign that she could be incontinent, said John "JD" Donnelly, chief executive of Special Olympics Utah.

The girl, who has epilepsy and autism, was barred from competing Friday, although she won a medal in an earlier event before the diaper was detected.

"It wasn't a Special Olympics call. It's the health department," Donnelly said Monday.

"The last thing I want is athletes exposed to something and infecting athletes in other locations," he said.

The girl's parents were disappointed.

"I'm heartbroken," Tilly Garcia said at the pool Friday. "We've worked so hard, and this is her sport."

Another swimmer drove 300 miles from St. George but was turned away because of the diaper rule, Donnelly said.

"The mother understood," he said.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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