As the COVID-19 Pandemic Continues, Athletes are Still at Risk of Being Infected While on the Road
By: Emmanuel Mendez
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many businesses including sport organizations like the NBA, MLB, NFL, and other sports around the world. This resulted in cancellations of leagues and delays in current seasons.
The MLB is currently finishing up their 2020 season with more games to go. The NBA is close to finishing its 2019-2020 season with playoffs going on at the moment. The NFL is about to start the new season as well as other sports like soccer, where they expect to start the season mid-September.
Many of these athletes and organizations have been following health guidelines to proceed with the games they have or will have in their current or upcoming seasons. This is to keep every person involved safe from the COVID-19 virus but, there have been some athletes that contracted the virus as the result of traveling and playing.
The MLB had many cases of COVID that disrupted this season, causing 41 games to be postponed according to CBS Sports.com. An Oakland A`s game was postponed due to a member testing positive according to the New York Post. This led to players opting out in games around August and there are questions as to how MLB is handling the pandemic situation.
On the other hand, the NBA has been doing a great job in keeping its players and teams safe by using their “bubble” method. As of now, there haven’t been any reports of positive tests and the NBA season will soon finish. The upcoming NBA season is set to start December 1st and the NBA plan to run a regular full-season that includes the full 82 games. They also plan to have the Finals played around June as it would normally be scheduled.
The NFL will be on time for their new season and they were able to finish last season since the Super Bowl was around February, before the pandemic outbreak. The 2020-21 season will start September 10th and as of now, there have been 10 confirmed positive tests found “among players and other personnel” according to sportingnews.com. The NFL won’t use the “bubble” method which means the players will have to travel across the country to play against other teams.
In Europe, football (soccer) leagues are ready to start the new season. The Premier League is set to start September 12th and the Champions League is going to start next month. For the Premier League, they have had a few players infected with the virus and these players have had to self-isolate, but they will not cancel the games since these Premier League clubs have a lot of players in their club to choose from, even from the academies.
The Premier League have also said they would like fans to return around mid-October with a low capacity. The most concerning problem with this is the Champions League and the other European competition. Unlike the U.S., these European competitions force these teams and players to travel countries instead of cities. Players that have participated in these games like Kylian Mbappe have now been tested positive for COVID-19.
The Summer Olympics, which were canceled this year and are now taking place next summer, have been aware of the COVID-19 cases among athletes and other members of the staff. The International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates stated that the Olympics “will take place with or without COVID.” The Olympics will require many athletes from around the world to travel to Tokyo and it will be no surprise if some athletes would want to opt-out of it if COVID is still around next summer.
While some organizations like the NBA look to have a good plan to keep players and staff safe, most of the other organizations seem to be risking many people’s lives. Sure, they are athletes and have a great immune system, but they also have families, could risk their loved ones and could infect the rest of the team and the staff. The upcoming season for all sports is going to be interesting for these organizations and we will see if they can keep these players safe and reduce the number of positive tests.