Impact of COVID-19 on High School Athletics

By Ekene Ezeh and Caleb Angus

Co-Sports Editors

The coronavirus has affected everyone around the world, with lockdowns and closures becoming constant during this time. While many people are paying attention to the economic and physical effects of the virus, most do not realize the impact it may have on high school sports. Spring sports have been canceled due to the virus, and it has had an effect on seniors looking to go to college. 

Newspaper

Hammond senior Louick Amouzou running hurdles in the spring of 2019 during his junior year.  Louick could not do the event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun. 

“The cancellation of sports is devastating,” said Mr. Lerner, the athletic director at Hammond. “More than denying seniors an opportunity to add film, the cancellation of spring sports denies seniors a final season to represent their high school.” The pandemic will also have an effect when it comes to recruiting for colleges. “The NCAA is considering allowing college spring athletes another year of eligibility,” added Mr. Lerner, “which would have a direct impact on the number of scholarships available for high school seniors, as well as the number of available roster spots.” 

Despite this, athletes are not sitting idly by while they are in quarantine. “Athletes can reach out to colleges via email or social media and show them what they are doing to better themselves at this time,” said Mr. Lerner. “College coaches all look for athletes to take the initiative to get better, that want to work on their craft when no one is looking, and love the process of getting better.” These athletes can take advantage of social media platforms with their extra time off. To make things better, athletes can get help from their coaches as well. Under normal circumstances, coaches will go to bat for their players to interested colleges. “The process has not changed,” said Mr. Lerner. “All of our coaches are willing to do whatever we can to help promote our athletes.  It is imperative, that when a high school athlete wants to continue playing at the next level, to discuss this with their coach, have their coach help them with their highlight video, offer specific feedback, and reach out to college coaches at institutions the athlete is interested in furthering their academic and athletic pursuits.” 

While the Coronavirus pandemic is an unfortunate situation for everyone around the world, there have been a few adaptations that Hammond has been able to use to give student-athletes the benefits of participating in Spring sports. “The pandemic has pushed some plans to move forward that would have otherwise happened at a slower pace,” Mr. Lerner said. “HCPSS is considering moving to online ticket sales or season passes for spectators, we are looking for new practices to make sure all areas and equipment are regularly disinfected, and other guidelines to make sure everyone is safe.” These new plans are the positives that have come out of an unfortunate situation showing that you can find good news in bad times.

But unfortunately, not all of the news would be good. When asked about the possibility of moving spring sports back into the summertime Mr. Lerner had this to say, “Unfortunately no.  Once the MPSSAA (MD Public Secondary School Athletic Association), which is our governing body, hands down the decision that spring sports are canceled – that is the final answer.  To be honest, as much as we all are disappointed, we are disappointed in the situation, not in the decision of the Governor or the MPSSAA.  We support the decision of the experts as it is really the only decision to make to ensure the safety of everyone involved.” While many coaches and students are disappointed with the cancellation of spring sports, they can look at some of the benefits that have come from the pandemic and use some of the things they have learned during this time to make High School sports better.

 

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