Parents rally for Illinois high school sports as COVID-19 puts season on hold for student athletes

LOMBARD, Ill. (WLS) -- Most high school sports are still on hold in Illinois while they are happening in other states.

Parents want sports to return, and this includes Betsy Kateyiannis-Dale, whose son Chris plays football for Glenbard North. The school may not have a season this year.

"They need to play. At least if it's a short season, they need to get out there and play," Kateyiannis-Dale said.

Kateyiannis-Dale organized a rally hoping to send a message to state officials to bring back sports.

Chris Buckner's son was a star football player and student who took his own life earlier this month. He believes the isolation of remote learning and having no sports made his depression worse to the point of suicide. Some parents believe suicide is a bigger threat than COVID-19.

"Our kid and so many people in our communities and state did what they were asked to flatten the curve of COVID, and what I'm asking people to do is flatten the curve of teen suicide," Buckner said.

Gov. JB Pritzker said he is following the guidance of public health officials to protect young athletes and their families from spreading COVID-19.

"It is nuts and you know it. It needs to stop. The coaches know better, the teachers know better, the administrators know better and the parents certainly know better what's best for their children," said Jeanne Ives, former state representative.

The IHSA will meet later in the week and parents hope for a decision that will allow student athletes to play.
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