Athletes adjust to a semester without sports
Edward Rudman – Sports Writer
As many professional sports teams have already had to navigate the rough waters that is a world with COVID-19, Southern prepares to have its turn at keeping athletes safe.
Jay Moran, director of athletics, said he has multiple meetings in the coming weeks prior to the start of fall semester planning for how they were going to deal with the virus and keep the student athletes safe.
“It has been a lot of meetings, a lot of great thoughts and ideas and probably more changes than anything,” said Moran. “We’re going to go through three phases. In phase one, our goal is to start Sept. 14 and we will allow ‘bubbles’ which are 10 people including coaches, making it easier for us to track a positive case if there is one.”
For the first seven days of this training period, there will be no equipment in use, but they will be permitted for the following week.
Phase two is scheduled to begin on Sept. 28 and will allow 25-30 athletes and coaches to train together, smaller than the guidelines set by the NCAA, which is allowing 50, according to Moran.
The Northeast-10 Conference’s Council of Presidents voted unanimously to suspend all NE10’s sponsored competition and championships through Dec. 31 on July 16, however, this does not mean that SCSU athletes cannot train during the fall semester.
If phase three is reached, which Moran called the “contact phase,” it will allow for team scrimmages in a two vs two and five vs five format and involve more contact between the athletes. phase three will also require a higher rate of testing for COVID-19.
On the medical side of the situation, Lisa Dupuis, head athletic trainer is tasked with getting NCAA division two athletes back to competitive shape.
“Our student athletes are returning, and they are young and healthy. Even during this time of COVID, many of them have at least been able to stay active, but no one has been able to train like a Division ll athlete trains,” said Dupuis. “The other component of these phases is about climatizing our athletes back to a competitive volume of exercise.”
While the fall sports have been postponed, the spring sports are currently scheduled to take place on time. None of the fall sports have been scheduled to compete yet, but Moran is currently working on when they will be played.
“We’ve only touched on possibly volleyball starting in March with the spring sports at the moment and then we’ll just have to plug in field hockey, soccer and football,” said Moran. “It’s going to be a very busy spring if it ends up being the plan that we’re supposed to be doing.”
Adam Cohen, head coach of the Women’s soccer team, said he believes the school has done a good job at dealing with the pandemic and its efforts to support their athletes.
“I think right now we’ve kicked it into overdrive to try and provide our student athletes with the opportunity to have a good experience this year while being able to stay healthy,” said Cohen.
Not only will the athletes of the university be presented with challenges caused by COVID-19, but so will all of the head coaches and assistants.
“I think before we even consider the physical health of our student athletes, we have to pay attention to their mental health because we just don’t know how they’re all doing right now and what their environment at home was like over the summer,” said Cohen. “We have to really prepare to deal with the psychosocial aspect during this acclamation phase.