COVID-19 Halts Sports Seasons as Disease Spreads to Players


Sofia Cruz

The National Basketball Association was hit the hardest this week with the diagnosis of two players having contracted the Coronavirus leading to the suspension of the season.

Sofia Cruz, Staff Writer

Recent developments with COVID-19, the now international disease, have led to massive complications with the seasons and remaining games of professional athletic leagues. The main organizations that have been affected so far are the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League. The virus has reportedly spread to professional players in the past week, so in their best interest, the leagues have decided to halt their respective activities until further notice.

For the NBA, what seemed to be the start of a normal game ended in disaster. Before a match between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Jazz’s Rudy Gobert was ruled out of playing due to him being ill. After being examined, it was later reported that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Around this time the game’s tip-off was occurring, so officials ran onto the court and informed those present that one of the players had the disease. The game was consequently canceled, and the Jazz team members remained in the Chesapeake Energy Arena under quarantine. Players from the Thunder were allowed to leave, but all teams who have played against the Jazz in the last ten days have been advised by the team to self-quarantine.

Many were upset at Gobert, the team’s center. He was reportedly careless despite knowing he was sick, touching microphones at conferences and handling players’ equipment. It was later revealed that one of their guards, Donovan Mitchell, had also contracted the virus. In order to prevent a greater spread, the league officially announced its suspension of the 2019-2020 season on Wednesday, March 11, over one month before its usual end in April.

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I have multiple friends whose sports meets and competitions have been canceled or postponed. I find this ineffective because if you got sick you would not be doing sports until you got better”

— sophomore Katerina Hernandez

Major League Baseball also suffered a nasty blow to its own season in response to the pandemic. Only one day after the NBA, leaders of the MLB announced that the remainder of spring training would be canceled. This already impacted teams such as the Miami Marlins, the Chicago Cubs, and dozens who were already preparing and had practices canceled the same day that the decision was declared.

Despite not having confirmed cases among its players, the league even went so far as to delay the start of the season, which is in March, by at least two weeks. The organization itself is unsure of when it will be safe to reverse their decision, and if that will even be an option anytime soon.

Another major sport affected by the Coronavirus is the National Hockey League. On March 12, officials issued a statement explaining that it would be extremely likely that players would soon contract the disease due to their constant travel and interactions throughout competitions.

Commissioner Gary Bettman then explained that they would be canceling the remaining matches of the season until further notice. This decision came with the counsel of medical experts who advised that all necessary precautions be taken to prevent any more issues. Once again, the announcement came as a surprise to fans.

On a smaller scale, such actions are also affecting college-level sports. The Chicago State basketball team, for example, has decided not to travel for its last two games. Universities’ teams are also limiting events and discouraging fans from attending certain games. These limitations may pose threats to the careers of college students, some argue, while others say it is more important to focus on the health and safety of players.

“Collegiate athletes do not have the same freedom professionals do. If the NBA or NFL season gets canceled they will always have next year to try, but in contrast, if the National Collegiate Athletic Association season is canceled it may be your last year. This affects seniors who worked hard to achieve the goals they set for themselves as a freshman. I feel the best thing would have been to let them finish the season but put restrictions on the fan attendance,” junior Xavier Vasquez said.

So far COVID-19 has not had as much of an impact on sports at Coral Gables Senior High yet; however, issues with traveling and competitions have arisen. The risks of Coronavirus are attracting questions from students and teams alike who are concerned over their athletic careers.

As players see the suspension of games and seasons among professional sports leagues, high schoolers have only become increasingly worried. With the uncertainty that competitive games are facing due to this pandemic, players can only continue practicing and prepare themselves for whatever comes their way for these upcoming sports seasons.