'Let them play:' California coaches push for the return of youth sports

A group of coaches and advocates youth sports on Friday held a news conference to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to "immediately get the safe return of youth sports in California underway."

The event was hosted by the Golden State Football Coaches Community and Let Them Play CA team members, representing over 46,000 students and parents in California.

Their plea is being made directly to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Health & Human Services.

"For 11 months, our young people across the state have had no voice," said Ron Gladnick, the varsity football coach at Torrey Pines High School. "The reality for our youth in California is, every adult in the chain of command has failed them, failed them miserably."

Coaches, student-athletes and the San Diego District Attorney say that continuing to ban these sports is having a major impact on students' scholarships, futures and mental and physical health and, without quick action, could cause irreparable harm. 

"Crimes in Oakland have gone up, gunshots, things just go by here." said Devynn Traham, a student athlete at Skyline High School. "For me, not having football right now is hard. Not being able to workout, to be with my teammates, to compete with other people in different schools is hard, and it's emotional. It's hard to stay motivated."

The "Let Them Play" movement is growing statewide. 

Last week, 17 groups throughout the Bay Area hosted sidewalk rallies.

This week, Santa Clara County officials said for the first time in months, they will allow outdoor low-contact sports like swimming, track and field, and golf.