New DHHS guidelines recommend no 'contact sports' moving forward

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- There's growing concern about what the near future of sports is going to look like.

During a Friday afternoon news presser, Dr. Mandy Cohen announced the state is not recommending 'contact" sports' moving forward including sports like wrestling, basketball and football.

"I fell in love with it when I was six," said Matt Cozart, a quarterback and soon to be senior at Corinth Holders High School in Johnston County. "My dad started me playing pee wee football."

It is Matt's last season and he has an aspiration of playing college football somewhere.

"I'd be really upset if I couldn't play," he said. "It's the last time I'd be playing with the guys I started with when I was so young so it would put a hurting on a lot of people not just me."

Non-contact sports recommended include golf, baseball, swimming and tennis. Under the guidelines, football players would be allowed to do practice drills on dummies but not the actual sport.

"I'm involved with the booster club at the high school so basically football pays the bills for any other sport," said Matt's father, Chris Cozart. "You take that away and basically it's going to snowball."

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association said it is going to spend the next few days preparing for the best way to get back on the field. On Tuesday, they are holding a virtual news conference.

Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State didn't respond specifically to the new guidelines but each said it's looking at the safest ways forward for its student-athletes.

"I just literally love how it brings everyone together," said Matt, who had to cancel some recruiting trips because of the pandemic. "I love communicating and being with my friends: It means a lot to me especially if we win."

ECU announced this week it is cutting men's and women's swimming as well as tennis to reduce athletic department deficits and it could lead to more of a snowballing effect across college sports.
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