In a shocking turn of events last Friday, January 23rd, Governor Andrew Cuomo reversed his previous decision and allowed the high-risk sports of wrestling, hockey, basketball, football, and cheerleading to resume practices and games starting February 1st.
This announcement came as a shock, as many thought that the possibility of these high-risk sports being able to play a season was slim.
The decision still had to be approved by local officials, and luckily for the Colts, County Executive Steve Bellone decided to approve high-risk sports in Suffolk County.
The high-risk sports season will be a much shorter than usual four-week-long season and will limit the number of matches played by teams. There will most likely be no multi-team tournaments or postseason.
Due to the close-contact nature of these high-risk sports, safety precautions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic will be strictly enforced.
There will be no spectators, which will be a massive blow to the many supportive family members and friends who cheer for our Colts athletes whenever they step out onto the field or on the mat.
Athletes will be tested via rapid tests weekly to ensure that there are no positive cases amongst teams. Athletes will also have their temperatures checked every day before practice.
For the athletes, one of the biggest questions that have arisen is wearing face masks. Throughout this pandemic, we have all been wearing facemasks to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and one of the most challenging times to wear a mask is when doing strenuous exercise, something that these athletes will be doing every day.
As of now, athletes will have to wear masks “when tolerable.” This means that athletes should try to keep their masks on as much as possible, but they can pull it down for a brief moment to catch their breath if needed.
This will contrast professional and college sports teams, and they do not have to wear a mask when playing.
Another thing our athletes must remember is to exercise personal responsibility and safety during the season. It may not seem like much, but going to a maskless party and catching COVID and potentially spreading it to your whole team could cancel the entire team’s, and through just one wrestling match or basketball game, possibly other team’s entire seasons. Athletes will have to make sacrifices to protect themselves and their teammates, coaches, and even other schools.
It may be uncomfortable for many Colt’s athletes, but the Colt’s can always persevere through challenging situations.
At this time, many of the details, such as scheduling, event locations, and practice size, are still up in the air. However, even if it is confusing and shorter than usual, the athletes will still be able to play the games they love at a time when many thought they wouldn’t be able to.