Coronavirus Continues to Impact Student-Athletes, But Spring Scrimmages Are Within Sight

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Photo courtesy of “football wife” from Pexels

Jaedan Tatum, Staff

Student-athletes at Diablo Valley College will be able to return to sports activity via the Limited Athletic Opportunity program, which allows participation in scrimmages and practices without causing athletes to use a year of their eligibility. As a result, student-athletes can return the following year and still be eligible to play. 

On Feb. 26, DVC Viking Athletics updated its decision about whether or not spring sports teams will be able to face competition midway through the semester. The baseball and softball programs have opted in for a season through the California Community College Athletic Association, agreeing to a reduced number of games. But meeting competition will depend on the school’s ability to locate other programs that have also opted in and have agreed to follow California health and safety guidelines.

Men’s and women’s swimming, tennis, and track and field have also opted for the LAO program allowing multiple practices and training.

According to the DVC Viking Athletics program, “The Vikings are partnering with a COVID-19 testing company to complete on-site Polymerase Chain Reaction or nasal swab tests for the student-athletes and staff. In compliance with state and county guidelines, this will allow us to begin practicing and competing against other institutions following the same guidelines.”

The CCCAA recommends that all student-athletes get tested for coronavirus once per week. Some schools, such as Solano Community College, have elected to test athletes twice per week for their baseball and softball programs. 

Robin Van Der Laan, who played offensive tackle for Oregon State University’s football team for two years before transferring to DVC in the fall due to COVID-19, said the virus has impacted student-athletes in a variety of ways, starting with high school athletes who are missing out on scholarship opportunities. Van Der Laan reflected on the fact that if he had missed playing a whole season in high school, he would not be the same person he is today.

He recommended that student-athletes who are looking for scholarship opportunities post films of their workouts or game highlights on social media, then send the film to coaches and schools as a way to position themselves for a scholarship offer, in the absence of games being held this spring. 

Since late last month, the California Department of Public Health has given the go-ahead for most outdoor high school sports programs to resume play across the state, so long as they remain below the threshold for coronavirus cases. According to Evan Webeck writing in The Mercury News, “Many spring sports will be allowed to begin competition on Feb. 26 in any county in the state with a per-capita case rate of fewer than 14 per 100,000 residents.”

On its website, Viking Athletics announced that “DVC Athletic Director, Christine Worsley, and Sports Medicine Program Manager, Charlie Ramos, have been collaborating on a plan to provide a safe environment for student-athletes and staff to return to play.”