COVID in Sports: how The Yellow Jackets have been impacted

The sports teams at BW have been impacted severely by COVID-19 this year. Interim Athletic Director Coach John Snell and the rest of the athletic program advisors, coaches, and program leaders have had to make significant changes to the way practice for sports is held to uphold government restrictions regarding COVID-19.

As of now, no teams are playing in an official season.

“We started our athletic activities after the first week of school, and everything was done on an individual basis,” said Snell.

Athletes were required to conduct their own training regimen while wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and sanitizing their hands and any equipment they used before and after the workout. Athletics have progressed to now practicing as teams, but still maintaining these actions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Snell said, “We didn’t know exactly how well it would go. There was obviously concern going into it, but so far it has been very successful. There have not been any major outbreaks and we’ve been able to conduct our practices.”

Other measures are still being taken to ensure the spread of the virus is prevented. As of now, each team is broken up into groups. These groups only practice together and don’t mix with each other. That way, if a member of one group tests positive, only that group needs to be quarantined while the others can still practice.

Snell said, “I think our practices are the safest place for our student athletes because we know where they are and what they’re doing.”

Student athletes are a part of the surveillance testing initiative issued by Governor Mike Dewine. Each week three percent of the student population has to be tested for the virus, which includes student athletes. From there, other student athletes will only test for the virus if they have shown symptoms. And if they do, them and all the people they’ve had contact with within the team have to quarantine.

The athletic training staff is currently serving as the contact tracers within the teams and each has to be cleared before they can return to practice. Athletes are encouraged to tell any other people they’ve been in contact with about their positive test so measures can be taken to protect the rest of the student body and reduce any additional spreading.

Snell said, “My hope is that something is figured out by the time we come back in January that will allow us to carry on as normal as possible.”

When competition starts again, athletes will have to be tested on a consistent basis in accordance with the NCAA rules and regulations regarding the coronavirus.

Athletes are being encouraged to take the matter very seriously.

“They should continue to be mindful of what being irresponsible could mean to us,” said Snell. “If our athletes lose sight of the importance of these measures, then we could put ourselves at risk and hurt our chances of having a season. And we want to play.”