COVID challenges sports teams


All the Laker Athletes pose together in masks for a picture. Credit: @lakelandcollegevolleyball Instagram.

Trinity Turner, Reporter

COVID-19  has created a lot of challenges. These challenges impacted relationships, school and even sports. Lake Land College (LLC) closed their doors in spring of 2020 due to COVID-19. This meant no students could participate in sports. 

As time went on, schools started to open back up, and eventually got a running schedule for sports. However, COVID still showed its presence. That running schedule kept getting pushed back due to outbreaks, and with these pushbacks came a lot of restrictions and rules. Some sports still couldn’t even be played. 

Today, though sports are back, there is still a long list of rules to follow. When going to the LLC’s website and clicking on sports, there is an entire PDF of all the COVID regulations athletes must follow. Some of these regulations are weekly testing, quarantine conditions, masks and there is even a section of regulations specifically for fans. They also have sections of rules separated for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. 

Looking a little closer into the masks mandate, LLC states, “Regardless of vaccination status, student athletes must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Lake Land College requirements for mask-wearing and social-distancing during all team and classroom activities.”

LLC also includes that coaches and teammates, when not actively practicing or participating, must wear a mask. These rules also are dependent on the National College Athlete Administration (NCAA) and the other colleges. 

Yet with these rules in place and the shut down Nikki Clark, sophomore and volleyball defensive specialist, stays positive and says, “COVID hasn’t changed the way I play. It limited my options and experiences that 2020 may have provided, but not how I play.”

Ava Stephens, freshman softball player also shows this positivity by saying “First off, the pandemic has made our season hard but unique.

Stephens continued, saying, “We have had to cancel some big trips due to covid. We were supposed to travel to California and Louisiana to play, but had to cancel because our team was hit hard with COVID. Within the first week back from Christmas break, over half our team was quarantined or kicked off of campus because some were either positive or contact-traced. At times, we were practicing with only a quarter of our team.” 

However, Stephens also goes into detail how this has shaped her team’s mindset. She says they keep a positive attitude, and now as they get to play in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, the team feels grateful. Stephens says, “The main thing about our sport and the pandemic is to not take anything for granted. We may have games get canceled due to other teams having issues with COVID, so be appreciative with all the games we play.”

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