Youth Sports During COVID-19


A soccer ball being disinfected.

Jehan Idsassi, Staff Writer

The  COVID-19 Pandemic has caused a great deal of restrictions regarding youth sports. During the beginning of the pandemic, sports were completely off limits; however, as time went on sports began to “re-open” safely. Though many global sports teams have started their reopening journey at an early stage, youth and school sports have been more severely restricted. A majority of schools in the United States waited until Fall of 2020 or Spring of 2021 to reopen their sports. This same decision applies to many youth sports organizations, such as Soccer Association of Columbia (SAC). 

The decision to participate in sports and spectate at sporting events will be dependent on athletes, families, and sports clubs in concordance with rules and regulations from local and state authorities. Participants and spectators should understand that social interaction and congregation increase the risk of individuals becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and potentially spreading the virus to family members and others in the community. At Eleanor Roosevelt High School (ERHS), students such as Aimal Abid, a freshman at ERHS stated “Playing sports does seem like a risky move; however, if the school follows the guidelines of the CDC then it should be safe enough to play or even hold a [2021] Spring Season.” Although, other students disagree. Fatima Saccoh, a senior at ERHS states “In terms of going back to in-person contact, going back to school already seems like a big move,” therefore, she reasons, playing sports with physical contact appears to be a “bigger” and “much riskier move.”  

However, the participation in sports has known health benefits, including promoting physical fitness and mental wellness.  Sports provide social structure and interaction, which is necessary in a time of uncertainty for young athletes. It is widely recognized that physical activity, performed for the right amount of time and intensity, can provide benefits to the immune system. In addition, sports can allow young athletes to learn concepts of teamwork, leadership, work ethic and integrity. 

In fact, many teachers believe that playing sports and attending clubs/organizations in school will be extremely beneficial for motivating students. With the return of in-person sports, A great number of students will have a motivator and something to look forward to when it comes to in-person learning now or in the near future. A teacher at ERHS stated, “In all honesty, there are risks to every move the county takes in this pandemic. But in terms of sports, I believe it will be a great motivator for many students, specifically those who thoroughly enjoy playing sports. In the end, it will give them a light at the end of the tunnel we are all in.”

Thus, in the long run, playing sports in-person at this time has many pros and cons to it; however, no matter what choice a student makes, going back to in-person sports is still a very controversial topic to be further discussed.