Athlete Fitness And COVID-19

It’s a tough time for fans all over – we’re stuck at home as our offices close and lockdown measures us prevent us from going outside, much anticipated upcoming events are being postponed or cancelled all together and for many a lot of uncertainty over the coming weeks on whether or not regularly seasoned schedules will finish at all. The impacts within the US are still hitting heavy as parts of Europe begin to see recovery, and eyes are turning to the event organisers and the club owners as fears over cashflow begin to come in.

A growing area of attention that many looking toward, however, is the state of athlete fitness during extended periods of lockdown. This will of course vary from sport to sport as training options and strategies will vary, but it is also becoming clear that there are some who may struggle much more than others.

(Image from the BBC)

Those not participating in a team setting, or perhaps less physically involved training regimes – think your motorsport athletes as an example, may fare much better. For this example we’re seeing many turn to virtual alternatives that offer a way to stay mentally stimulated and in some regards, to continue practicing their trade – but these athletes are also still able to get out in a vehicle and some the most immediate effects may not be as easily shown as those in other sports.

The biggest impact will be seen in those who are involved in very team-oriented sports, and especially those who are involved in very explosive physically demanding sports – think football and basketball. It’s already well known that extended periods of time without concentrated training for these players can increase risk of injury and as they tend to follow more specialised routines, they may not be able to do everything required to stay in peak physical condition from their own homes as they lack both the equipment and staff monitoring from their modern training facilities. Concerns have also been raised that these athletes pushing what the limits of what their bodies can do are actually at increased risk of infection as whilst they may be fitter and healthier than the average Joe, causes separate issues. The team aspect is also a consideration here, team practice is a huge part of how well they are performing together and after an extended period of time apart, it’s definitely expected that there will be teething issues when getting back into the swing of things. 

Pressure is coming from all directions for sporting events to continue on as normal – the hospitality businesses that find a boom from those travelling to and from the events have been hit very hard by this, betting websites that have relied on their online casino counterparts such as have voiced concerns that they may not be able to survive for too much longer if sporting events continue to see cancellations, and now it’s looking like the US Government may push for many events to continue during a time of increased risk in a bid to stabilise the economy – but is it all too soon, is the risk too high, and could the athletes taking part be the ones in danger here?