How student-athletes have handled COVID-19 the past few months

By Julia Sparco

Elm Staff Writer

The epidemic has affected everyone in recent months, taking away jobs, education, and entertainment. Specifically for sports, many athletes have had their seasons halted or have the potential to lose their season in the near future.

As professional athletes have begun to play again with new rules pertaining to CDC guidelines and with an absence of fans, collegiate athletes are still stuck waiting to play again.

In the spring of 2020, Washington College students had to finish the semester online due to the pandemic. For athletes, this meant all spring seasons had been cut short. Senior athletes never had the chance to finish their final season.

The entire situation left athletes of all sports shell-shocked as they had to remain home without access to fields, courts, or weight training facilities. Lack of equipment became a barrier to many student-athletes.

Studies by the NCAA show that the pandemic brought a lot of mental stress to student-athletes.

“It felt like everything was taken away from us, it sucked to be away from everyone,” said senior men’s lacrosse player, Keen Griffin.

To compensate, former WC Head Athletic Trainer, Jonnie Jenkins, and former assistant, John Weston, ran “Zoom” meetings in which they conducted easy at-home workouts for the athletes. This provided some normalcy for athletes to continue to workout for their sport.

Yet, without the pressures and time consumption of their sport, “70% of participants felt positive about passing their courses,” according to the NCAA.

The situation allowed student-athletes to fully focus on raising their GPA.

The cancellation also gave injured athletes a chance to fully heal. Head Athletic Trainer, Matt An, was open to “Zoom” calls throughout the end of the spring semester to continue to rehabilitate injuries from an at-home setting.

“This break allowed me to rest a lot, which will help me get back on the court for our next season,” said senior captain of the men’s basketball team, Barry McCormick, who had an injured hip most of his previous season.

Student-athletes continued to keep in contact with their teammates and coaches through Zoom calls as well. Many teams put a heavier focus on mental training instead of working out to prepare them for the next time they play.

This included listening to podcasts, reading, and learning problem-solving tactics that student-athletes normally would not have the time to do in a regular season or in the off-season.

With the continuation of online classes this fall at Washington College, fall sports have already been cancelled. Winter and spring sports still have high hopes that they will be able to play.

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