baseball spring sport covid

NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion's opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Having spring sports during the semester would be illogical and risky given the current health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With over 18,000 cases and counting for Lafayette Parish, we must think wisely about the future of our students and our university. If that means taking a break from spring sports to ensure the safety of our beloved peers and administration, then so be it. 

Looking through the eyes of a student-athlete, I can see how eliminating spring sports could lead to them feeling abandoned and neglected since some did come to the university to play those sports. However, various studies have been taken at universities nationwide that have shown how some student-athletes who get the virus can have heart inflammation due to COVID-19.

Imaging Cardiologist, Partho Sengupta from West Virginia University, and her colleagues conducted a study on the athletes at West Virginia University and discovered that more than one-third of the students who tested positive for COVID-19 had some form of heart inflammation and unusual liquid increase within their bodies. 

There are fears of having the virus enter the heart and cause myocarditis, which is an inflammation that could negatively affect blood flow and lead to heart failure for many college athletes.

Sengupta and her colleagues established a statement, reflecting the one from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, that speaks about the actions that should be taken to keep athletes healthy and virus-free before getting back in the game. 

The preservation of our college athletes’ athletic abilities and healthy bodies is very important. Putting them on the field, an arena, or on a court with the possibility of getting the virus and worse effects from simply playing their favorite sport is not a risk that needs to be taken. Even from other places such as after-game parties/events, athletes would be exposed to the virus, and the only solution would be to quarantine for fourteen days. This could cause a game to cancel anyway. 

You would also have to take into account the possibility of our athletes and sports staff getting the virus from other out-of-state teams and away-games. As of Dec.11, at least 6,629 cases have been reported by college sports departments nationwide. That’s not even all the cases. Some schools didn’t even release their numbers thus creating distrust and secrecy. With traveling schools coming and going, there’s no telling what some may leave behind.

College athletes already have enough pressure on themselves with academics, social lives, and other personal passions. Why not alleviate games until the outbreak is tamed so players could play without worrying about permanently damaging their health and involuntarily stopping themselves from gaining a successful sports career?

Now, of course, going to games and showing school spirit is a part of being a proud University of Louisiana at Lafayette student. 

As a sophomore coming from a high school without a football, baseball, or basketball team, I understand the idea of wanting to get a genuine sporting experience in college and making long-lasting memories. However, with restricted student admission and social distancing, the excitement of being at the game would quickly fade. Also, the comfortability and enjoyment of the game would decrease for many due to people’s concern with possibly contracting it.

Spring sports continuing for the semester is not the way to go if we are trying to maintain a healthy and pleasant school environment. Why not just wait to get the true experience college athletes and fans love without the virus? 

It’s all about the long-term game.

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