High school sports kicking off for fall season in Michigan after unsteady year

Posted at 5:59 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 08:19:23-04

(WXYZ) — High school sports are back in Michigan and kicking off for the fall season after a year of starts and stops.

From volleyball to football, both players and coaches are excited to come together and play.

"We're all super excited to come out and play and win some games and have some fun," said Preston Phimister, captain of the Novi High School football team.

Last year, playing wasn't a guarantee with starts and stops triggered by the pandemic.

"Last year, we made it to the semis, but it took four months, where usually, it takes two months to get there," Sara Vellucci, a player on Novi High School's volleyball team said. "So, I think this year, I'll be ready, just no matter what happens, just to keep playing.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is requiring all coaches to participate in mental health training centered around student-athletes to give coaches trainers and students resources to identify those who need support and guidance in how to provide it.

Matthew Lewis is the head football coach at the University of Detroit, Jesuit High School and Academy.

"When I was playing, you know, we didn't do stuff like that, get together and talk about your feelings and what's going on," he said. "You know, it didn't happen in football, but now, you know, I think it's part of it's part of coaching."

High school coaches are now required to train through the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan's BeNice Program.

Christy Buck, executive director of the Mental Health Foundation, said approximately one in 10 teens will struggle with a mental health disorder in a given year.

"Trying to navigate that as coaches and teachers, it has been challenging, and the BeNice program has really has provided us with kind of steps and things to do," Lewis said.

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