'Let us play': IL high school athletes, parents put pressure on Pritzker to loosen restrictions

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some high school athletes are once again bringing their fight to the governor's door, calling on him to loosen restrictions and let them play.

Dozens temporarily filling the street in front of Governor JB Pritzkers Gold Coast mansion Saturday morning as they continued their calls for an expanded return of high school sports.

"We're from low-income communities and we want to have videotapes and stuff. And by the time where we get our soccer season [and] our volleyball season, acceptance for schools and stuff will already be done and we don't want to be left behind," said CPS student and volleyball player Lizbeth Barajas.

Rally goers also once again expressed their concerns about mental health.

RELATED: Illinois student athletes, parents sue IHSA for return of fall sports even as COVID-19 cases rise in some counties
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A group of student athletes and parents have sued the Illinois High School Association, demanding the return of fall sports.

"Right now, mental health is really affecting us as teenagers," said Waubonsie Valley soccer player Bryan Grimaldo. "Soccer the field is something that heals us."

Last week, a judge denied a temporary restraining order against Illinois High School Association to allow fall sports.

The IHSA says its goal is to give students the opportunity to play this year, as long as it's safe.

However, these families pointed to surrounding states that have allowed high school sports, like football, to resume. But in Illinois, Gov. Pritzker continues resisting the return of contact sports, saying his scientific advisors see the risk of spreading COVID-19 as still too high.

"And that means with our masks, social distancing. When we go to practice, don't ball up," said Barajas. "We can work around it just like we are with schools that are open or other states."

"I just feel like we should give them a chance. They're responsible," said athlete parent Sheri Urlacher.
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