Impact of COVID-19 on professional sports

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Shreeja Tangutur

New regulations intended to keep teams safe during the pandemic have changed many professional sports seasons.

Shreeja Tangutur, Academics Editor

While Major League Baseball is halfway through its season, over 50 games have been rescheduled due to COVID-19. With the pandemic hovering over sports teams, there have been many changes to the way sports leagues are handling the outbreak.

The NBA and MLB provided guidelines on returning for the season with matters including how to train, eat and wash. These strict guidelines hope to protect the athletes from the virus. 

Sports leagues are also approaching this pandemic by having strict guidelines and regulations. For instance, Major League Baseball is enforcing many new precautions which include two negative COVID-19 tests, no fever for 72 hours and a joint committee of two doctors and one non-medical representative from MLB judging whether or not an athlete poses a risk of spreading the disease before they can enter the field.  

“I think these precautions are good because they lower the risk of players getting COVID-19, but you can never be too sure,” sophomore Nikita Sirigiri said.  

Sports teams are taking different approaches in terms of their audience. In the NFL, each team is allowed to create their own policies on the number of fans allowed in the stadiums. Several teams have accepted the fact that their stadiums won’t be as lively as before, while other teams have chosen to have their stadium with as many fans allowed by the CDC. 

 “I personally feel that it would be fun for sports teams to return,” freshman Swara Somu said. “It would obviously be different because of the numerous precautions. But if everyone is social distancing and following the rules, I think it would be great!”

While some NFL teams, such as the Miami Dolphins, are allowing a limited number of fans, with capacity up to 20%, other teams like the Buffalo Bills, have decided to have games with no audience until further notice, in fear that it could increase the spread of the virus.  

“I love that we can watch sports again and make it seem like things are going back to normal,” Sirigiri said. “Although in the long run, it might further spread COVID-19 if they aren’t taking the right safety precautions.”

I love that we can watch sports again and make it seem like things are going back to normal. Although in the long run, it might further spread COVID-19 if they aren’t taking the right safety precautions.”

— Nikita Sirigiri

When popular leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and MLS first suspended their seasons, sports fans were distraught with the realization that they couldn’t cheer for their idols. Now with most teams virtual, fans are happy that the teams are continuing their seasons but disappointed about not physically being in there to encourage the teams. 

“It’s great that sports teams resumed,” Somu said. “However it’s not the same as actually being in person and cheering on the teams, being there and enjoying it with your family and friends is what makes sports so magical.