Students, parents, coaches rally to bring back youth sports in California

Two students also file lawsuit to play sports
Youth sports San Diego protest
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 19:37:08-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The Golden State Football Coaches Community and non-profit group, Let them Play CA, held a joint press conference Friday morning, urging lawmakers to bring back youth sports to the state. In the afternoon, the groups got together for another round of state-wide rallies.

"Three million youth athletes and six million parents are waiting for you to help us," Ron Gladnick, head football coach at Torrey Pines High School, said.

Gladnick said he was hoping that since the state's Stay-At-Home order was lifted, so would the restrictions on youth sports. The two groups spoke with Governor Gavin Newsom over the phone last Friday and felt that the discussions were promising. But they still have not moved forward with any timeline of reopening.

"My biggest fear is that as a senior, I'm going to walk away from something that I don't feel like is finished," Hannah Erickson, swimming and Waterpolo captain at Palo Alto High School, said.

Junior Devynn Trahan tuned into the press conference from Oakland.

"Not having football right now it's hard and very emotional," Trahan said.

The lineman at Skyline High School said he lost a teammate, Aaron Pryor, to gun violence in September.

"We had a lot of things going on with him saying, if he was playing sports, he wouldn't be on the streets," Skyline High School head football coach Joe Bates said. "Now we are seeing them join other brotherhoods that aren't so pro-social, which we call gangs, right? I'm losing my boys!"

San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan also joined the press conference. Since the full shutdown was implemented last April, Stephan said reports to the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children went up significantly.

"[There are] normally 287 reports. We had 854 reports. Triple and quadruple effect," Stephan said.

Stephan hoped that with the reintroduction of safe, organized sports, the youth would stray away from harm and these alarming statistics.

"This is another pandemic that is going to last generations," Stephan said. "If we don't don't focus on the second pandemic, which is what is happening to our children."

Along with the press conference and the rallies, two San Diego area high school student-athletes sued the state and county regarding sports restrictions on Friday. They argued that youth sports in 47 other states have not led to an increase in COVID-19 transmissions or hospitalizations.