COVID’s Impact on Student Athletes


Photo by Anna Earl

Freshman Landon Bryan watches an inbound pass at a 9th grade home basketball game versus Wheeling Park.

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of the school year. From color maps to face masks this school year is completely unrecognizable from the last. Some of the biggest changes this year were made to sports. Due to uncertainty, winter sports conditioning was delayed to March 1st. This was a huge issue for student athletes who normally play winter and spring sports, because this caused the winter and spring seasons to overlap. Athletes had to either choose between their two sports, or try to juggle participating in both. Winter sports conditioning began on March 1, and conditioning for Spring sports began March 8.

Some athletes, including sophomore Emily Bond, are used to their sports seasons overlapping. Bond is a part of both the swim and crew teams. The seasons normally overlap for a few weeks at the beginning of the spring Crew season, Bond said, and she normally joins the spring season late because of conflicting practice times. This year, Bond will continue to participate in both swim and crew as she has for the past two years; however she will be forced to join the crew team about a month and a half late. Even though her seasons will be a little different this year, Bond still has big goals for both swim and crew. “I’m looking forward to improving my personal records this year,” she said.

Other athletes such as freshman Landon Bryan aren’t used to having their seasons overlap. In nine years of baseball and six years of basketball, this is the first time that Bryan’s seasons have been active at the same time. Bryan is currently on the freshman basketball team and made the baseball team on March 17. Due to a positive COVID-19 test, both the varsity and JV basketball teams were unable to practice or play for the 14-day period of quarantine in March. Despite challenges, Bryan is confident in his team. “I want to make it to States. We’re going to make it happen,” said Bryan.

Many sports have had a huge drop in participation. Students have started working longer hours due to uncertainty, and many activities being cancelled or postponed. “My decision to not return to crew in the spring was really difficult, but I enjoy my job and having a stable income,” said junior Natalie Atkinson. Travel restrictions and new safety protocols are another barrier to athletes. Because of uncertainty with games, many students have quit their sports until next season.