(WXYZ) — Pressure is growing on the state to allow the return of high school winter sports.
Contact sports like hockey, basketball and wrestling are postponed until February 21 due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association is continuing its fight to bring back games and practices.
Livonia Stevenson Head Hockey Coach David Mitchell says he's worried about his players' mental health.
"The benefits of athletics go far beyond the rink, or the court, or the mat," he said. "
Mark Uhl, the director of MHSAA, says this past fall "proved" that athletics can be done safely at the high school level.
“Our fall sports were able to finish on the rapid testing program," Uhl said. "Where kids had to take a rapid COVID test three times a week. Of the 5,300 participants in that, 1 percent tested positive and of the almost 30,000 tests as of the last count, the negative rate for those is 99.8 percent.”
Novi Community School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Matthews said he also wants to see students return to their winter sports. He said the same safety protocols used right now in gyms can easily be used or adjusted to keep winter athletes safe.
“It’s been almost a year since we’ve had kind of a regular, traditional schedule at school and athletics was part of that," Matthews said.
At least 300 people are expected at another "Let Them Play" rally at the state Capitol building. It's organized by parents and student athletes who say this extended delay for winter sports just isn't fair.
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