Major Sports During a Global Pandemic

Big league sports teams have had to learn how to adjust to the new rules, regulations and circumstances of having a sports season during COVID-19. 

In this situation, major league, pro, and college teams are experiencing financial, physical and stressful challenges that make all contact sports difficult and require developing new rules that help maintain a safe environment.

The North Dakota Health Department states, “If you are included in a close contact sport, or have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for fifteen minutes a day or more, you should consider being tested, or quarantine for two weeks for your own and others safety.”

This is one of the many new “rules” for teams and schools around America that have decided to continue major sports during this pandemic. To ensure teams are doing their best to keep a safe environment, these are the precautions being taken.

Although the thought of these major sports returning sounds entertaining to the people who have been at home in quarantine, or who are just looking for entertainment during the pandemic, and even the sports players themselves, how practical is the restoration? 

The MLB and NBA have reported using almost 19,000 tests a week to ensure the safety of staff and players. The problem is, labs are having a difficult time keeping up with the reviewing of tests even without sports and by tacking on thousands more tests that require almost immediate results multiple times a week, might not be helpful.

LabCorp, a commercial Covid testing lab said, “…because of the tests being on such high demand, many are not positive if completely returning to sports (which is causing a higher demand for the test) is the smartest decision considering how long it takes to receive results and the mass amount of times each player is getting tested.”

Relating to this demand for tests, teams are also beginning to face financial issues because of the costliness of keeping up with health department regulations. Statistics show that by the end of the 2020-2021 sports seasons, teams themselves will use around 10% of their budgets just for safety precautions such as masks and tests, and facial shields. 

East Carolina’s athletic director, Jon Gilbert, explains, “Our school has already budgeted $100,000 for coronavirus expenses and some schools can end up spending $500,000 depending on the number of cases.”

In this situation it is all or nothing. Earn the privilege to play or lose it if the responsibilities are not handled correctly. If teams want to ensure the safety of their students, players, and staff, and continue to be allowed to play these close contact sports, the necessities cannot be skipped over or serious consequences could arise. Teams have to keep up with the testing and safety precautions set up by the CDC and Health Department if they want to continue playing these major sports. 

The next question being asked, however, is will teams be able to keep up with the seasons to come?