Let Them Play- Safely

If fall sports are to go on during the pandemic, safety precautions need to take place outside of school.

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Players run to forward senior Lia Concannon after her goal during the varsity game on Oct. 19, 2019. Varsity won 1-0.

Ava Albracht, Reporter

High school sports offer many students a place to improve their skills, gain confidence and can be their ticket to college. Research shows that adolescents who play team sports experience less stress and lower rates of depression, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Now more than ever, teenagers need an excuse to get out of the house while staying safe, release some stress, and be able to focus on something else than the impending doom our world seems to be headed towards right now.

Schools across America are reopening for the fall semester, after coronavirus forced many schools to shut down and go virtual in the spring. Now, as case numbers are still high and growing everyday, many school districts are worried about cancelling sports if the school must go virtual. Many argue that cancelling sports is safer and will slow the spread of the virus, but others are concerned about the loss of opportunities and benefits that would result from sports cancellations.

If students are granted permission to play a sport, particularly a team sport where they can come into close contact with other teammates, then the school needs to make sure that they are following social distancing guidelines outside of school. This means no parties and staying six feet away from friends. If students do not adhere to this, they should not be allowed to play because they are putting the entire team, coaches  and all their families at risk.

The Center for Disease Control recommends reinforcing frequent hand washing as well as wearing masks, especially when distancing is difficult. Even though following the CDC’s recommendations can be hot and sweaty while playing, it is the only way sports will be able to continue for the entire season without having an outbreak and getting shut down by the school. 

Some advocates of the Let Them Play movement, an organization that advocates for the return of fall sports to schools, argue that because the case fatality rate is so low (only six percent of coronavirus patients died solely from the virus according to the CDC), student athletes may as well just take their chances. However, with so little being known about the long-term effects of the coronavirus, scientists have no way of knowing about any lasting damage to other organs. The coronavirus can lead to further lung issues such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis or superinfection, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Any one of these lung conditions could be fatal to a student’s athletic career, even if it is not fatal to the athlete themselves.

If anything is ever going to return to normal in the near future young adults need to learn to participate in all activities responsibly. Otherwise, the vicious cycle of a drop in case numbers and then a huge wave will continue for a long time, longer than anyone would like to admit. Therefore, student-athletes should be given the chance to play, but if they cannot comply with social distancing guidelines on and off the field then they should not be allowed to continue.