Basketball in the time of COVID-19
By Troi Lucas
Bridge contributing writer
Published Monday, Oct. 26, 2020
Uncertainty looms across the Dustdevils basketball court this season.
Texas A&M International University athletes were previously told their season will be postponed until Spring 2021. Basketball players, in particular, now deal with a longer pre-season and more protocols due to the effects of COVID-19.
The athletes were allowed back on campus on Aug. 24. A select few decided to “opt out” this season. Some chose to focus on school, while others felt uncomfortable with the idea of playing during the pandemic.
Men’s sophomore guard Darian Gibson said he finds it difficult to put in the necessary extra work on his own because of the required precautions.
“[It’s had a] negative impact on me, personally, because I am not able to get the gym time I was getting before,” Gibson said.
He added that the lack of extra work makes him more nervous for the upcoming season.
Most basketball players understand the pressure put on them, sophomore women’s player Bre DeLon said.
“Not being able to do anything else besides school and basketball, can be mentally draining over time,” DeLon said.
This semester, TAMIU athletes are tasked with the ideology: “stay in our bubble.” It means to limit contact with others in order to stay as safe as possible, not only for the athlete but also their teammates.
CDC guidelines for the pandemic dictate people around the country wear face masks, including the Dustdevils.
“Due to the guidelines in place each day, I’m forced to wear a mask which inhibits my ability to breathe and causes me discomfort while playing the game I love,” senior forward Grey Parrish said.
Basketball players are required to wear a mask at all times on campus. This is not limited to their particular workout on the court or in the weight room. Wearing a mask while working out can be difficult.
According to a Business Insiders article by physiologist Lindsay Bottoms, “Exercise invariably leads to faster and harder breaths, so wearing a mask during exercise places a further strain on airflow.”
The training room is one of the most essential places for an athlete. Due to COVID-19, the training room requires strict guidelines to make sure safety precautions are met.
“The way I cope, is by getting my athletes ready to compete to the best of my ability,” Assistant Athletic Trainer Sarai Costa said. “Things have been difficult, but I believe that whenever the time comes, the athletic training staff and the athletes will be ready to compete. Extra precautions are being put in place.”
Procedures, such as limiting the occupants in the training room and cleaning every table after use, are necessary measures put in place.
“Many things are affected and it’s hard to focus on just basketball because there are many things we have to worry about,” men’s senior guard Matijia Novkovic said.
TAMIU basketball players may seem overwhelmed but say they are excited and anxious to start the new season, and look forward to hearing the community cheer them on.