What are new rules for athletes during the pandemic?

Two football teams playing a game makes it hard to social distance on the field. 
Photo credit: Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Two football teams playing a game makes it hard to social distance on the field. Photo credit: Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Nicole Powichroski, Staff Writer

Resuming life after quarantining for several months seems impossible. For most teens normal consists of school, sports, and seeing their friends. Schools are beginning to phase students back into their classes but for sports they have different rules and regulations. Compared to school, most sports require a lot of physical contact. With extensive amounts of physical contact, it can be hard to remain socially distant and safe from Covid-19. Although there is no perfect safe answer to go back to playing sports and stay safe from the pandemic the CDC created a list of recommendations for athletes to follow. 

For daily tasks you are advised to wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance, clean everything, monitor your health, and take other precautions. It is harder to complete every safety precaution while playing sports but the CDC advises athletes to stay home if sick, bring their own equipment, reduce physical closeness, wear a mask if possible, and clean their hands whenever possible.

Not many rules are required while playing sports, but issues can arise from the safety requirements. Depending on the sport athletes might not be able to bring their own equipment. For high school sports such as volleyball, football, and baseball athletes can bring their own balls and bats. For track and cross country equipment is even less of an issue. The biggest issue is reducing physical closeness. The only way to play certain sports is to tackle or be close to other players. There is no way to play football without having to have contact with other players. If the players are that close to one another with the chance of some being asymptomatic players could easily catch the virus. They are even more at risk if they do not play/practice with masks on because the added layer can make it harder to take deep breaths with fabric getting in the way of their breathing. Although it seems difficult it is not impossible and strongly advised to still play sports in a mask. 

Sophomore Katie Biber plays for Roswell High School’s softball team and was able to speak on how the coaches are remaining safe. 

When asked if they have to wear masks at practice she said, “For practice we do not have to wear masks however for games we do in the dugouts as well as riding on the buses, so it does not affect my playing.” I also asked how heavily the coaches implement social distance at practice to which she responded with, “Not really, our coaches encourage it but usually in the dugouts we are all sort of crammed together even though they tell us to remain distanced.” Lastly she answered if there were any precautions they take such as washing their hands, taking their temperature etc. “Yes, before practice our coaches check everyone’s temperature and if someone has a higher than normal fever he will send them home. He asks everyday if we have symptoms or have been tested for Covid recently. After warm ups and practice everyone uses sanitizers. Also if we need to refill our clothes we have to ask the coach because we are not allowed to touch the jugs.”

Hopefully by spring sports there will not be as many requirements.  Everyone wants life back to normal which includes going to sporting events like football games. To ensure we get them in the future athletes and outsiders should follow the requirements advised by the CDC to ensure safety of the virus.