The COVID-19 pandemic has had major negative impacts on sports for many athletes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sports and athletics at MSD have had many setbacks due to concerns about the safety and well-being of students and staff, both on the field and off. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, sports seasons should be canceled until normalcy resumes.
An example of COVID-19’s impact on school sports would be the numerous cancelations and postponements of games because of a team’s exposure to COVID-19. Many teams practiced before or after school weekly, and many learned that they would not be playing the day of their scheduled games because of the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contact sport players are at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19. With the vast majority of the sports played at MSD being contact sports, becoming infected is now an acute risk, and numerous student athletes have already contracted the virus.
For many senior athletes, their winter seasons were played with little to no attendees as a way to keep everyone safe. Without the normal cheers of fans, these games are not as rewarding for players. Because of this, school sports should be postponed until spectators can return to the stands.
Limiting seats also limits the level of enjoyment at athletic games. Nevertheless, these restrictions are necessary to maintain social distancing. The excitement of fans contributes to the level of engagement for athletes in their game so the absence of fans may lead to an absence of the competitive nature in sports.
School sports typically require large gatherings for training and practice. Many hours of time and effort from student athletes and coaches are poured into preparation, yet the current pandemic has shortened seasons significantly. The diligence and talent of these players are not even able to be showcased to their friends and peers.
There is an undeniable risk of playing sports and potentially contracting the virus. The reward of little to no engagement with fans is not worth endangering the health of those around you.
School sports are undoubtedly a large part of many student athletes’ lives; however, the current global pandemic requires us to think about the consequences of large gatherings. It is irresponsible to jeopardize the health and safety of students and staff by allowing sports to continue. Instead, we should make the hard decision of postponing sports seasons until they are safe enough for everyone to truly enjoy.