EDITORIAL: Cancel sports for the sake of safety

While a 2021 season could give student-athletes an opportunity to make a name for themselves and reach the next level, during this uncertain time, it’s not necessary for Orange Coast College to take the unknown risk of resuming sports. 

The subject isn’t as black and white as just resuming competition. Athletes, coaches and staff would be asked to put themselves at risk. 

Since athletics have returned this year, there have been over 6,600 college athletes, coaches and staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the NCAA.

Even though there has been no reported deaths among student-athletes, it doesn’t excuse the negligence that comes with allowing sports to resume.

There are long-term effects that may come after testing positive for COVID-19 as severe as potential heart issues.

With so much uncertainty hanging in the balance, is there really a legitimate reason to rush back into sports? 

On Saturday, Florida basketball forward Keyontae Johnson suddenly collapsed on the court and was later placed in a medically induced coma. Johnson had previously tested positive for COVID-19 during the summer, and though its unknown if it was the reason for his collapse, the virus can lead to myocarditis, which in severe cases causes sudden cardiac arrest.

At what point will the realization be made that maybe returning to sports isn’t the best step forward. Will a collegiate athlete have to actually die for the right decision to be made?

This isn’t as simple as thinking they are young, healthy athletes, students' future health is on the line.

Eligibility has already been restored by the California Community College Athletic Association regardless of whether or not games are played this spring. The opportunity to get noticed by collegiate programs won't be lost for returning athletes if the season isn’t eventually played.

No matter how many precautions are in place, there's no real way to assume everything will go according to plan. The Pac-12 implemented rapid daily testing before returning, and still had a reported 357 positive tests as well as 13 cancelled football games this season.

How will OCC realistically handle a season where player safety is on the line? 

As an editorial board, we believe OCC should opt out of sports for the 2021 season and prioritize the safety of both the student-athletes and the athletic staff.

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