How Does COVID-19 Affect Student-Athletes?

Ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, schools have taken precautionary measures to make sure students stay safe. With the current state of the coronavirus, sports are beginning to open up again. With the new surge of activity from student-athletes, the risk of getting the coronavirus increases, leaving students feeling at odds of what to do in these trying times. 

Since coronavirus has been around, many regulations have been in place, and many people still have yet to acknowledge them. The Center for Disease Control has a few but very strict guidelines for what people should do if they still want to enjoy an athletic pastime or train to become the best they can be. One of the points on the CDC’s website states, “Players should bring their own equipment” for many sports that wouldn’t be too much of a problem. A baseball bat, lacrosse stick and football helmet are all fairly easy to carry around and are items that can be easily stored. 

The guideline “Reduce physical closeness and keep 6 feet of space between players when possible” is definitely one of the hardest to follow, especially in football and many other contact sports. 

Students on the Woodson Football field (Photo by Leila Ali)

One of the better things to come out of coronavirus is the increased hygiene that will hopefully stick with people. “Students should clean their hands before and after practices, games, and sharing equipment.” This CDC guideline should be emphasized for the current state of the coronavirus and for those who procrastinate on keeping the equipment clean. This guideline could also help prevent many other diseases and viruses from spreading in the future. Cleaning sports equipment should be the bare minimum people should do daily, as it helps everyone stay healthy and keeps the equipment in good shape. 

With students itching to get back to their sports, many still desire to keep the coach-athlete relationship through apps like Slack.  Many athletes are already extremely stressed, so having them make a tougher decision would be less than optimal.  “Mixing sports seasons based on which sports are low- or no-contact can put some multi-sport athletes in a tough spot,” Rowing coach Lucy Taylor said.

For many students, choosing one sport is hard enough for them, two would make it doubly as hard. 

Then there comes the health risk of getting back into sports. “At a bare minimum I think that all Woodson teams would need to be supplied with lots of cleaning supplies,” said Coach Taylor. Much of the time, students reuse and share equipment, and habits like that have to go if students want to get back to doing sports. Having students keep a clean set of equipment will help reduce chances for coronavirus and keep the equipment in the best shape its been in for years. 

One of the worst parts of the coronavirus pandemic was the cancelation of many sports seasons. “At minimum, FCPS isn’t going to see competitive sports until December,” Coach Taylor stated. Student-athletes who weren’t sure when sports were going to start up again can now rest easy knowing when sports will have a chance of starting up again.

Coronavirus has decimated many things this year, sports being one of the main activities affected. While many students are caught up in online learning, many will wonder when sports seasons will make a return. Some students are feeling indifferent about it, though. 

“I mean it’s the lives of the people, versus the fun of playing a sport,” said coxswain Justin Yoo about the current state of Woodson sports. 

Sports are one of the main activities of Woodson, but the students are more focused on keeping people safe than winning a few games. “It would be really unfortunate if there were no sports this year, but the safety of students takes priority,” said Sam Guglielmino. Many students all share the same thought of, for the greater good of the school.

Doing a team sport helped keep their minds and bodies fit. “I am struggling with self-motivation,” Photographer Liam Sullivan says. This shows the true mental strain that the Coronavirus has put on many students.