California High School Sports May Return Soon

#LetThemPlayCA makes progress in Sacramento

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

High school sports could find their way back to fields, diamonds and courts across California.

“It’s really about every kid that plays every sport in California now,” said Ron Gladnick, one of the voices behind the Let Them Play movement.

Gladnick is also the head football coach at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego.

“We believe we’re on a road to salvaging sports for our kids,” Gladnick said Friday.

He said he has spoken with dozens of state legislators, including the Governor.

“Governor Newsom wants kids to play,” he said.

Gladnick said he has word from the Governor’s office that the State of California will come out with a plan in the next two weeks to bring back high school sports.

“Our kids need that, our coaches need that, and our communities need that,” Gladnick said. “All we’re really down to right now is we’ve got to get the timeline right for it to happen.”

Gladnick said the health of students is getting worse because they haven’t had the athletic outlets. The Let Them Play movement cited studies that said 74% of kids between 11 and 17 have anxiety. The same studies said 66% are depressed. Mental Health America reported more than 77,000 teens have thought about suicide.

NBC 7 reached out to local state Senators Ben Hueso and Toni Atkins about the possibility of high school sports starting again.

A statement from Senator Hueso’s office said, “Senator Hueso wants children to engage in sports with their safety as the first priority. He understands that the Governor is actively working on a solution to present soon. It has been conveyed to our office that the Let Them Play advocates have had meaningful conversations with Governor Newsom and his staff recently. We hope these conversations are productive and result in a plan to allow our youth to safely return to sporting activities. Sen. Hueso looks forward to supporting such a plan.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Atkins said, “I want kids to get back to playing sports because I know just how important it was for me in my early life… I’ve been engaged deeply between the legislative houses and with the Governor, trying to negotiate re-opening schools to focus on academics and for many, the loss of learning and achievement gap. Getting kids back on the playing field also is important because it provides foundational life skills.”

“No one’s going to get a perfect season. No one’s going to get a full season,” sighed Gladnick, but he was hopeful the Governor would at least allow room for teenagers to play again.

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