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Contact sports back in play beginning Tuesday in Nevada

Posted at 5:19 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 15:25:34-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Full or close contact sports can resume practice and play, and basketball hoops across Las Vegas will be reattached to backboards Tuesday following an announcement from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday.

In response to a request by Sisolak to conduct a reevaluation of contact sports, the governor’s Medical Advisory Team (MAT) submitted new recommendations supporting allowing these sports to resume with certain testing and mitigation measures in place for their organized leagues, clubs and associations.

RELATED: Nevada allows full and close-contact sports to resume with COVID-19 plans

Full-contact and close-contact sports, as defined by Section 2 of Directive 039 (full-contact sports), may resume for practice and competitions, subject to the requirements set forth in Directive 034, including the requirement to adopt a Preparedness and Safety Plan as set forth in Section 11 for all organized leagues and associations prior to beginning competitions, games, matches, or league play.

In addition, full-contact sports organizations, clubs, associations, leagues must also implement a COVID-19 testing and mitigation plan prior to resuming competitions, games, matches, or league play.

Organizers of full-contact sports are encouraged to work with their local health authority on developing a testing and mitigation plan, and they should review the Nevada Guidance for Adult & Youth Sports, dated March 30.

Individuals participating in full-contact sports that are not organized through a recreational league, club, or other association (ex: pick-up basketball games) are not required to submit a Preparedness and Safety Plan and are not required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to participating.

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This directive comes after months of pushing from coaches, parents and players from many different sports, including basketball, water polo and wrestling.

"It's such an amazing piece of news today," said Mark St. John, head coach for Team Vegas Henderson Water Polo. St. John said he felt the weight of his entire community on his in recent months as leaders lobbied the state to lift the restrictions. "Wouldn't you do anything if you saw your kids hurting?"

In recent weeks, leaders from the basketball and water polo communities began working together to take on the restrictions.

Both communities say they had lawsuits drafted and were prepared to sue the state. St. John said after a meeting with Nevada's COVID-19 Task Force last week, a lobbyist told them to hold off on filing the lawsuits.

Jeff Kaufman runs the Nevada Basketball Coaches Association and says this directive allows for basketball players in Nevada to get back to properly playing and learning and teaching the game and letting our kids get back to a sense of normalcy and enjoying the sport of basketball.