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Lawsuit filed against NYS regarding "high-risk" status on youth sports

Posted at 6:24 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 18:24:41-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The lack of a sports season has been difficult for Lancaster senior Jason Mansell.

"I just felt like I was powerless I really couldn't do anything," Mansell said.

It's why he says he signed onto a lawsuit against Governor Cuomo and New York State, representing coaches, parents, players and organizations all looking to challenge the restrictions associated with what have been deemed "high-risk sports".

"Really the only way to get any progress was through the lawsuit," Dave Mansell, Jason's father who is also listed on the lawsuit, said.

One of the restrictions the lawsuit, filed by HoganWillig law firm, looks to reexamine deals with play stoppage. Currently, if one athlete tests positive for COVID-19, the entire team cannot play for 10 days. Mansell says, if this would be removed, more would actually get a test.

"More kids will go get tested because they're not worried about putting their friends out of playing for ten days," Jason Mansell said, "and that is a serious problem because a lot of kids have talked about that."

Sports listed as high risk include: football, ice hockey, volleyball, cheer, basketball and others. Last month, Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein made reference to several COVID-19 cases linked specifically to travel hockey.

But HoganWillig does not believe a one-sized-fits all approach should be applied when it comes to benching sports teams.

"It seems like these continuous restrictions on these kids, keeping them from playing a sport they loves, doesn't make sense," Corey Hogan, of HoganWillig Law Firm, said.

The kids have sacrificed a lot, it's time for them to safely get back to play," Dave Mansell said.