High-risk winter sports are back

Jillian Helmes, Chief Reporter

High risk sports were recently cleared to play, along with spring and fall teams beginning pre-season training. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, only no-contact and limited-contact school sports were cleared to begin in early January. However, basketball, wrestling, and cheerleading were given the greenlight by Governor Cuomo to begin February 1. 

Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive, along with the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association and Section XI, furthered the decision by allowing the 20,000 or more student athletes who reside in Suffolk to play high-risk sports. 

“As a parent, I understand just how critical of an outlet sports are for our youth,” said Bellone, in a press release. 

However, all those involved agree that safety must be at the priority for all athletes if this is going to be a success.

With the risk of the Coronavirus, many precautions have to be taken to ensure the safety of the players and the coaches. To protect the safety of everyone, players and coaches have to complete daily attestations confirming that they do not have any COVID symptoms and that they have not been exposed to anyone with COVID. Attendance will be taken at practices and games and masks will be worn whenever possible. 

There is a consent form that players will have to fill out and all students wanting to participate in high risk winter sports will have to get weekly COVID tests. Temperatures will also be taken prior to practice and games and social distancing will be enforced whenever possible. Equipment sharing must be minimized and if possible, play should be outdoors. 

With the news of high risk sports being allowed, it enables more students to get involved in their communities again. By allowing these sports to run, it can better the mental and physical health of students during this difficult time. Playing sports can be an outlet for stress relief for many students. 

“Being a part of a team helps with your communication skills. Meeting new people that join the sport that you like helps you to connect with each other,” said junior Takara S.

With more sports being cleared, it creates a sense of normalcy and allows the students to have a chance to bond with their peers.🔳