Athletics During a Pandemic

The sports world has seen vast changes within the last few months due to COVID-19. With large corporations such as the NBA and NFL using safety precautions such as only operating their stadiums at limited capacity, creating a “bubble” for players, and testing frequently. High School sports recently reopened and are setting precautions into place to minimize the spread of the virus. Whether or not sports should be played is still fairly debated.

The CDC states, “There is an increased risk of COVID-19 spread while playing team sports. Although there are ways to reduce this risk.”

Marshfield Senior Kiya Weatherly, who dances for the Marshfield Upbeats, said “We split the team into two groups and practice at separate times, wearing masks and maintaining the 6-foot rule. Before practice our temperatures are taken and we answer questions about our recent health.”

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) is in charge of what regulations will be followed, and when practices are allowed. These are all put forth in efforts to maintain a safe environment for the players and coaches involved. Throughout the 2020-2021 season there has been a total of three, two week freezes on indoor sports.

Following the necessary rules reduces the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading, although the threat can never be fully eliminated. Eventually, those 16 and older will be eligible for a vaccine, but even then there is a slight chance of catching or spreading the virus.

“Yes there is a larger risk playing sports than staying at home, but we take the necessary precautions to stay safe,” MHS sophomore softball player Sara Weatherly said.

According to the OSAA, school athletics can be played safely, as long as the guidelines for stopping the spread of the virus are taken. With the right steps that risk is very low and the benefits of exercising mental and physical strength speak for themselves.