COVID-19 Impact on High School Sports

Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, shape or form in the past few months. Specifically, the pandemic has brought uncertainty to schools and athletic organizations. Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, questions still remain about whether high school sports can operate safely within UIL guidelines.

“I’m hoping that our student athletes, especially our seniors, will get to experience their seasons,” Varsity Basketball Coach Kenni Patton said. “Athletes will social distance and wear masks when not actively participating.”

Varsity football player senior Boyd Melton said he thinks the season this year is about as different as it can get from last season.

“This season is already so pushed back it just feels a little off,” he said. “It has been really great for our team because we have had a lot more time than usual to get prepared for the season.”

With Melton being a senior this football season, he said he is grateful for the opportunity to play football through the pandemic.

“When I saw we were given the greenlight on the season I was so relieved,” he said. “I’ve been working hard for the last three years and didn’t want it to be cut off a whole year early.”

One fear players and coaches have for the upcoming season is the district’s sports budget, but student trainer junior Bryce Bradish said he thinks the budget will not be heavily affected.

“COVID-19 will affect the budget by having less money at the end of the season compared to years past,” he said. “The reason I say this is because of the money we have to spend on products to keep players safe from COVID-19.”

In addition to the financial aspect of the season, Bradish said he thinks the training staff has plans in place to address any safety issues.

“The masks are relatively easy, you need to keep the mask on at all times unless you’re in a (sports) drill,” he said. “Social distancing can sometimes be difficult, but mostly not.”

One question going into the upcoming sports seasons is if the UIL will allow high school sports to continue throughout the entire year. Melton said he thinks the football season will happen and go smoothly enough.

“I believe we will have a full football season this year; I trust my teammates will continue to do what they need to do to stay safe and healthy this year,” he said. “With a lot of returning varsity players, as a team we are very excited to show what we can do this year.”