Folks, I’ve got some shocking news for you today that I’m sure none of you ever expected. You many want to be sitting down for it because it’s big and you probably could have never seen this coming…
Athletes are going to test positive for the coronavirus as sports return. It’s inevitable. As life returns back to normal and things reopen, some people are going to be getting the coronavirus. The important thing is that if you’re elderly or at risk with pre existing conditions that you continue to quarantine since those are the main people who have negative consequences from COVID.
For those who are not 65+ or have pre existing conditions, the risk of dying from the coronavirus is extremely low. In fact people under the age of 35 (AKA most professional athletes) have accounted for just .82% of the COVID-19 deaths in America (most had pre-existing medical conditions) and since February 1st, 2020 more people under the age of 35 have died from pneumonia than they have COVID-19.
Now all of this comes at the heels of five people in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization testing positive for the coronavirus and folks saying that there won’t be any Stanley Cup Playoffs this season due to this. According to long time Tampa Bay Lightning beat writer Erik Erlendsson, all of the players/staff that tested positive are asymptomatic at this time.
I’d go against the grain and say that there’s a chance that if you’ve been out and about over the past month or so that you may have already had it and been asymptomatic or had extremely mild symptoms. You can get an antibodies test virtually anywhere now to see that. I did one at the beginning of May and mine was negative.
Now I’m not writing this article to downplay coronavirus at all. I’m not saying that it’s not serious for some groups of people. I’m not saying that the death that we’ve had isn’t sad because it is. I’m a huge believer in wearing a mask if you go out in public since there’s a lot of strong anecdotal evidence that they can drastically reduce the spread of coronavirus.
My point is that the risk of professional athletes dying or developing severe symptoms is highly unlikely. League doctors and medical personnel all know this and that’s why they’re returning to play. Well, that and money.
On top of that, for sports like the NHL and NBA who are going to be going into “bubbles” for their playoffs, once they’re in the bubble then the chances of a player testing positive go down dramatically. For sports like football where the players won’t be going into bubbles, teams are going to have to have contingency plans. For example, NFL teams may carry three quarterbacks at a record number this year because if you’re starting QB tests positive with coronavirus then you’re going to have to deal without playing him for 14 days with no exceptions.
When it’s all said and done, positive tests are going to happen. There’s no way around it. At the same time, leagues will be able to manage positive tests to avoid an outbreak and professional athletes who are in peak shape that test positive will be just fine based on the facts and data that we have today.