COVID-19: When Sports and Playgrounds Went Silent

The last 18 months have been far from ordinary for everyone around the world. In March of 2020, countries around the world declared state of emergencies due to the COVID-19 virus (or Coronavirus). Not long after, the World Health Organization classified the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, shutting down schools, sporting events, businesses and many other amenities worldwide. 

While this pandemic granted the opportunity to spend more time with family and perhaps just relax, many children, professional athletes, and university/college athletes missed out on participating in physical activity, due to restrictions. 

Emma Coburn, a U.S. steeplechase athlete’s tweet following the announcement that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed 

With many countries deciding to not participate, and the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed to ensure health and safety for athletes and Olympic staff. As this decision was stressful for athletes who had been training, athletes from around the world expressed their positivity and gratitude for being able to represent their country, as well as their gratitude toward the International Olympic Committee for being able to play their part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 these positive outlooks, it left athletes without access to proper training facilities for over a year. Because there was no access to a gym or to sand, April Ross, an American beach volleyball player, set up a net in her backyard with a piece of plywood attached to practice during the first months of the pandemic.   

The pandemic is not only affecting professional athletes, but school-aged children as well. Schools were forced to shut down amid the pandemic, cancelling extracurricular activities like sports, as well as physical education class. Due to restrictions, movement levels of children plummeted as schools struggled to find alternatives to team sports. Although these cancellations of school and sports were necessary to lower the spread of COVID-19, it is important to remember that physical education classes in schools are one of the most effective interventions for increasing physical activity levels among young people. 


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