NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some changes are coming for high school sports next month in New York state.

High school senior Danny Long was afraid the exhilaration of his favorite sport, basketball, might be a thing of the past.

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“It really was just kind of overwhelming to think about, this is my senior year, I’ve dedicated so many hours to this sport, and there’s a chance that I’m not even gonna play,” Danny told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

COVID forced a longer time-out from sports than New Rochelle’s point guard could have ever imagined.

“The fact that we’re gonna be playing and we know we’re gonna be playing is such a relief and so exciting,” Danny said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Effective Feb. 1, participants in higher risk sports may take part in individual or distanced group training.

This includes football, wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading.

Teams may also take part in competitions and tournaments as permitted by local health authorities.

New Rochelle athletic director Steve Young says these teens need the stress relief and the safe camaraderie.

“These kids really haven’t had anything in a year,” he said. “So we want to give them some semblance of a season and some memories they can look back on.”

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CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Officials must consider local rates of COVID-19 transmission and whether new variants of COVID-19 have been identified in the area.

Twenty-five cases of that concerning U.K. variant have been found in New York state, and two have been found in New Jersey.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo worried what the weekend will bring for those wanting a vaccine.

“We will, by the end of today, fully utilize all of the dosages that have been delivered,” Cuomo said Friday morning.

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In the meantime, Danny and his teammates are looking for any dose of normalcy they can get.

“We don’t have to go into college thinking about what could have been,” Danny said. “We can play together for one last time.”

The memories they make will be the highlight of the season.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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