SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady County could soon be the next area that allows its students to participate in high-risk sports after meeting most of the metrics provided by the county health department required to resume play.
Parents like David Apkarian, who want their kids back on the field, say playing sports is important not only for their student’s physical, but mental health.
“I’ll come in and say, ‘Oh, you didn’t get out of your pajamas today?’ And [my son] just looks at me and goes, ‘What’s the point? I’m just going to put them back on tonight,'” Apkarian said.
Apkarian said he’s noticed a change in his son’s behavior not being able to play volleyball.
“We got to get these kids busy again. You’re watching this almost depression kick in,” Apkarian said.
Parents across the Capital Region are urging their county health departments to allow high-risk sports to resume for similar mental health reasons.
Schenectady County has now met key metrics to get the green light to resume high-risk sports including a rolling 7-day positivity average that’s under four percent and a hospital capacity in the region that’s above 15 percent.
“Mental health is also a huge part of participating in high school sports. It gives students an outlet. It gives them an immediate sense of belonging,” said Executive Director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Robert Zayas.
A majority of the counties across the state have allowed students to participate in high-risk sports.
“Across the state we’re seeing that students want to be engaged, they want to be around their friends, they want to be around their coaches, and participating in high school sports gives them that opportunity,” Zayas said.
Once approved by the county health department, Schenectady County schools will join only two other counties in the Capital Region that are allowing their students to play high-risk sports.
“Staying home and having this isolation for 14, 15, 16-year-olds is not a positive thing at this point,” Apkarian said.
For the dad of two, it’s not about the competition as to why he wants to resume high-risk sports, but it’s about the camaraderie.
“It’s the activity of getting them back with their friends and their teammates even if they’re simply playing against each other or just practicing,” Apkarian said.