Be a teammate to everyone in your community. Get vaccinated and encourage others to do so.
Our daily activities make each of us part of an interconnected community. This has never been more apparent than with the spread of COVID-19. The virus has spread throughout the world causing a major pandemic and leaving illness and death in its wake. The most effective practices to control the spread of this deadly virus are to social distance, wear a mask, and get vaccinated. Social distancing and mask-wearing may not be feasible during participation in team sports. As a result, there’s an increased risk of team members spreading COVID among each other. Therefore, it’s imperative to take other protective measures, primarily getting vaccinated.
Athletes learn many life lessons through participating in sports. In team sports, it’s ingrained in the athlete to put others before oneself and do what’s best for the team. A team player should want to protect the health and safety of their teammates. People who aren’t participating in sports should view themselves as a team member of their community and adopt a similar mindset. In addition, while athletes may feel that they’re young and healthy and not susceptible to the worst COVID-19 outcomes, they are part of a larger community. They may spread the virus to friends and family members who are immunocompromised or have other risk factors. Therefore, getting vaccinated is the best preventative measure anyone can take to keep themselves, their teammates, and the community safe.
The implications of a positive COVID-19 test go beyond the diagnosis resulting in missed practices, forfeited games, and even cancelled seasons. In addition, an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 faces a quarantine period where they’re not available for practice, games, or even able to show support from the sideline. Quarantine may affect one’s mental health if they’re unable to socialize or be physically active with their team. This layoff may result in physical deconditioning. When the athlete returns to physical activity after quarantine, it’s unlikely that they will be at peak performance and it will take time and effort to re-acclimate their body. Most athletes have trained countless hours to reach their athletic goals. With so much time invested in their sport, why would an athlete risk the setback of a COVID-19 diagnosis for themselves or for their teammates? Furthermore, we do not know the full effects of COVID-19, including long-term consequences on the heart and lungs. Athletes rely on these internal organs to achieve optimal performance and COVID-19 infection may negatively impact these organs.
In order to stay healthy, protect teammates, family and friends, and to keep competitions as scheduled, every team member must do their part. What can each athlete do to help? They can get vaccinated!
Be a team player in your community. Get vaccinated and encourage others to do so. Take the life lessons learned from being a teammate on a sports team and understand that you are a teammate to your community. Help their well-being like you would for your teammates.