With the ever-present threat of COVID-19 in the minds of athletes everywhere, the sports program here at Vanden aims to salvage what is left of an already unprecedented season. “It’s unfortunate for seniors,” says Sean Murphy, head coach of the VHS Varsity Football Team, whom I interviewed early this week. “The season is going to be very different,” he says. “it’s going to be colder and there’s going to be much more rain then we’re used to.” The Vanden team is going to have to adapt to a season that starts in December instead of the Fall, and with the first practice to be held on December 7th, the team will need to work extra hard to prepare for their first games. As for what athletes have b een doing to prepare for the season, the coaching staff have had some great opportunities for just that.
Coach Murphy and his team at Vanden have already been holding pre-season conditioning events, where athletes can prepare for the season with their team. “We’ve done a really good job of creating a program that keeps all the athletes safe,” says the coach. “Summer conditioning was successful, and now we’re moving on to fall conditioning.” Student athletes are separated into groups of 15 students, always the same students to prevent cross-contamination. While it seems risky that students are together at one location, sweating and possibly coming into contact with one another, Coach Murphy assured me that appropriate safety measures are taking place. “The coaches have spray bottles of disinfectant,” He says. “They use them to disinfect the equipment after every use from each student, so there is no contamination.” They also are limiting the use of footballs and other equipment that require two students to deliberately come in contact with one another. Safety has been the top concern of all the coaches, and the measures they have taken have been very successful.
There have been no reports of anybody getting COVID-19 from Coach Murphy’s programs. However, while he is optimistic about the season, if the risk is too great he is prepared to do what is needed. “Football is never worth risking someone’s life.” Says Coach murphy. The first game will be held New Year’s Eve, and no fans, cheerleaders, or bands will be allowed to attend, to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The games will likely be streamed so that all of the sports fans can still catch the action. The question remains, however. Will sports, real, contact sports, happen in the covid-19 era? Or will it simply be too dangerous?