Sports are slowly beginning to make their way back to our TV screens, and as they do, many professional leagues are making policies that will allow researchers and scientists to use large sports venues as research facilities for Covid-19.
Part of these policies will also allow for players and other sizable groups that will be working in sports to be regularly monitored by doctors. This will not only ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in the resurgence of professional sports, but the information collected by the doctors can be used for finding a treatment for the coronavirus.
The argument about whether or not sports should be coming back is vast and still heavily debatable, especially considering the US is one of the only countries in the world still seeing massive spikes in cases. However, researchers believe that once sports leagues enter a pandemic isolation zone to play – such as the NBA’s plans to play at Disney World the whole season – doctors and researchers will more easily be able to understand the virus.
Priya Sampathkumar is an epidemiologist who’s also working on a NBA specific antibody study. Back in April, MLB also participated in the first nationwide coronavirus antibody study.
“The authors of the study realized they had a ready-made national network of medical providers — sports medicine physicians and orthopedists — who were scattered in a really broad number of markets and would be able to help conduct these tests. It was really, really clever.”
Closed off NBA facilities throughout the country are now being used as makeshift Covid-19 research laboratories or testing sights as well. NBA players specifically will also be tested everyday for Covid. Parts of these tests will implement new forms of finding out if an individual has the coronavirus or its antibodies, and the player results will give doctors a better understanding as to what type of test is easiest and most accurate.
The goal, however, is obviously to keep the coronavirus out of all of these sports “bubbles” throughout the US where major league teams will be isolated while playing their seasons. It will be especially difficult in the beginning, as many athletes will need to be coming from out-of-state, making the risk of spreading much higher.
If the virus does begin to spread within these isolation zones, doctors will be more equipped to trace the source and therefore what state/county/town that the initial infected individual was from so that the individuals in that area can also be aware.
This is one of the biggest reasons that medical experts aren’t fully turning away from the idea of restarting sports. The safety of the individuals within these bubbles is of the utmost importance, but the data that will be collected and used will be just as substantial.
This data is important for league members as well because they’ll be able to better manage the health and safety for all of its staff. Learning more about the virus will be beneficial for the rest of the world.