When Should Sports Start?
May 23, 2020
The Coronavirus has had many impacts on the world around us. One thing that it greatly affects is the world of sports. Sports all over the world have canceled their seasons and stopped practice in order to protect themselves and others from this spreading virus. With this growing concern comes the question: when should sports start up again?
Before making any decisions, understanding the risks and dangers of COVID-19 are the most important first steps to come to an answer. First of all, the coronavirus is highly contagious. An article from Business Insider states that, “It’s more contagious than the flu… An average coronavirus patient infects at least 2 others” (McFall-Johnson and Bendix).
Therefore, bringing groups of people together would not be smart during these times. This is specifically evident in sports because it’s very difficult to not be near others, both with the athletes participating in sports, and the crowds that gather to watch. This makes it exceedingly challenging to come up with measures to take to prevent this disease from spreading, while maintaining even a semi-regular sports schedule.
Additionally, as stated by Science Alert, “COVID-19 starts out in the lungs like the common cold coronaviruses, but then causes havoc with the immune system that can lead to long-term lung damage or death” (Neuman).
Having athletes around such dangerous conditions could jeopardize their careers and futures. This shows that staying away from groups of people and practicing social distancing and isolation is what is best to prevent further contamination and cases around the world.
However, putting an abrupt end to the spring sports season has been devastating for athletes looking forward to participating in their sports, even for our own athletes at Paly. One softball player, Emily Crowley (‘21), believes that “there needs to be something set into place to make up for the lost spring season of many athletes.” But the question of what actually can be done, realistically, to make up for all of the missed sports seasons, is still open ended at this point.
Another question that arises is when do scientists predict this pandemic will end? Even though it might seem like a basic question, it actually is not answerable. Scientists do have predictions, but no one can say when for sure it will end. There have been many ideas of how this pandemic will play out, coming from all over the world; some say that we have reached the peak, but others say we have not yet.
We have also seen approaches taken to mitigate the effects of the virus starkly different to those of the United States; such as with Sweden. Sweden opted to not shut down most day to day activities that we see closed here, such as schools and restaurants, hoping for the population to gain “herd immunity”, and not face the economic consequences that come with shutting down more, through this approach. While this is a completely different approach to the one we know and are living through here, we cannot yet say if it has been more or less effective.
One thing that we do know for a fact is that there are still growing numbers of deaths and growing numbers of people infected in many parts of the world. There also have been an unknown number of infections and deaths that have not been reported to the data, proving that the data might not be as accurate as one could hope.
Due to this, there is no way of knowing when sports should start up again.
“… different sports should start at different times depending on the amount of contacts players have with each other,” Crowley said, proposing the idea of taking on sport reopenings on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether or not it is safe.
Those that will be making this ultimate decision of when to start reopening and reinstating normal day to day activities, including sporting events, should be the legislators of this country. During these times, rushing into anything will not have positive outcomes, and it is most important to follow the widespread direction of the leaders of our country in order to maintain the preventative work our nation has been doing thus far.
Ensuring that there is one ubiquitous plan, set in place by the government, that is followed by everyone is what is most important, not only for the wellbeing of not only ourselves, but to protect everyone around us as well.
Therefore, Viking believes that it is not up to us to be able to declare when it is time for sports to start up again. One piece of news acting as a light at the end of the tunnel is that the NCAA recently stated that Southeastern Conference (SEC) athletes would be allowed to return for on campus practices starting June 8th, so hang in there! The health of every individual is more important to us, and we encourage everybody to follow the directions and recommendations surrounding COVID-19 being put out by the CDC and the government.
Stay home, stay safe, and make sure to follow our county’s updates on the pandemic. Sko vikes!