Controversy has been swirling around whether or not high school sports should be cancelled but the answer is clear… all high school sports should be played. The University of Wisconsin’s school of medicine recently released a study further demonstrating this point. Of the 207 schools surveyed in the study, none of the athletes attending the schools were found to have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 than 14-17 year olds who do not participate in athletics. Furthermore, 209 athletes contracted the virus and only one case was related to sports.
Everyone, especially the athletes are extremely motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure public health and safety. Aidan Liu, a member of the freshman boys lacrosse team at RHS, explains: “high school athletes will definitely wear their masks and follow the guidelines put in place… no one wants their season cancelled.” Aidan has also noticed how cautious and safe his coaches and the tournaments he recently played in have been: “there are always signs at the tournament about mask use” and other rules including one parent allowed per kid are enforced. Schools, like RHS, have the ability to track the origin of COVID-19 cases and alert students who have contracted it, meaning, the possibility of an outbreak is very low. It has been proven the safety measures put in place by our government reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmissions, and as long as athletes continue to follow the guidelines put in place as Aidan says they are, safety will be ensured.
Taking sports away from kids is unfair, especially since sports aren’t related to surges in COVID-19 cases. Students all around the world, including at RHS, rely on sports to help them afford college. The absence of sports seasons makes it extremely hard for athletes to get their name out to recruiters. Although COVID-19 should not be taken lightly, denying students the opportunity to attend colleges they deserve to go to is a lot to ask. Rick Son, a player on the RHS freshman basketball team states: “if the basketball season doesn’t happen [the seniors] aren’t going to have a fair shot at scholarships and their talent will be wasted.” Seniors at high schools are also stripped of the ability to lead their team which is one of the reasons why athletes look forward to their senior season so much.
The absence of sports has also led to a myriad of mental health issues. In the study done by the University of Wisconsin, 3,000 athletes were surveyed and 65% reported signs of anxiety and 68% reported signs of depression. Sports are an escape for many kids and a way for people to express themselves. Especially now, any distraction that can take our minds off of all the chaos in the world is extremely important.
Graphic: Sam Cohen