Basketball reclassified as higher risk, put “on hold”
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Illinois Department of Public Health switched basketball from a moderate risk to a higher risk sport on Tuesday.
That move by IDPH puts boys and girls basketball in jeopardy for the winter. Higher-risk sports can have no-contact practices, and trainings only. Wrestling is also higher-risk.
“We can’t ignore what is happening around us - because without action, this could look worse than anything we saw in the spring.” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It’s with that in mind that today, my administration is releasing our updated guidance for youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois ahead of the winter season. As with sports in the fall, nothing is ‘cancelled,’ just put on hold until we’re through the thick of this pandemic. We adapt as we learn. That has been our mantra throughout this pandemic, and as is true in every other facet of life, we know this virus is of most concern when people are indoors with high contact, especially in vigorous situations that bring about heavy breathing - like in wrestling, hockey and basketball. Life in a pandemic is hard for everyone, and it’s hard for all of our kids, whether or not they play sports. That doesn’t make it any easier - but we really are all in this together.”
Cheerleading and dance were also switched from moderate risk to lower risk, opening the door for those teams to compete.
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said the changes came as a surprise to the state’s governing body of high school athletics.
“About 15 minutes prior to Governor Pritzker’s press conference today, we were alerted that the Illinois Department of Public Health has elevated the sport of basketball from a medium risk level to a high risk level," said Anderson. "We remain considerate of the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our state. However, in our meeting with IDPH on Friday, we felt that we presented multiple options that would allow for basketball to be conducted safely by IHSA schools this winter, many of which are being utilized in neighboring states who plan to play high school basketball. Despite that setback, there is some positive news, as IDPH accepted the IHSA’s mitigations related to other sports, including cheerleading and dance, allowing them to move from a medium risk level to a low risk level. We will hold our special Board of Directors meeting on October 28 as scheduled, where our Board will provide direction on the other winter sports, as well as discuss the IHSA sports schedule for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.”
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