By Joshua M. Hicks
The current COVID-19 circumstances have made it extremely hard for athletes to compete within their respective sports, but are athletes, especially football players, susceptible to contracting the virus? The answer is yes.
According to medical experts, health unknowns are still lurking regarding the virus’s function, but everyone is susceptible to the virus, including athletes. Sports require lots of close and personal contact, creating easier opportunities for athletes to contract the virus. Most schools are following their conference and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols but, based on the school and level of their sports programs, rules and regulations vary in decision making behind the resumption of specific sporting seasons.
National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools with football programs like Roosevelt University are preparing to have a season. However, precautions have to be made, and head athletic trainer Kelsey Kaiser is preparing her staff to make sure all precautions are applied when students arrive on campus.
“The most important thing is being aware of what the [virus] symptoms are, so the big piece before any athletes return is education,” Kaiser said.
Head coach Jared Williamson understands the difficulties that lie ahead.
“We lost two-thirds of our spring practice programs,” Williamson said. “The NAIA has eliminated two of our games. The wait and see approach is in effect and we have to be prepared for the unknown.”
NCAA Division-III school Elmhurst College is an institution reportedly worried about the unknowns of their upcoming season. Sophomore Tight End Wynton Alexander says the team remains hopeful in planning for the upcoming season, and that he hopes that he can play football this season.
“I’m not worried about catching the virus,” Alexander said. “We are all playing football, but I understand why others may be worried.”
Alexander’s mother, Vivienne Harvey, supports her son’s desire to be a student-athlete, but she is worried about him catching the virus while playing.
“I’m very worried about my son’s health,” Harvey said. “[Sports] may not be his future as a career. I tell him he is a student-athlete with being a student first, which allows him to have a life, so he has to listen to his body.”