As we enter this spring semester, hopeful about both playing and supporting sports, there are still ongoing COVID-19 precautions and protocols Southern Nazarene University athletic teams have to follow. This week I had the pleasure to speak with Julie Duncan, the SNU women’s soccer head coach, about how the team is preparing and the steps they are taking to get ready for the spring semester during COVID.
When asked about her concerns this semester Duncan replied, “My concerns are somebody getting sick and taking out 4 to 6 other players. We must have 16 healthy players to play,” and added, “Making sure coach Smith and I are enforcing the protocols to help keep everyone healthy.”
While everyone is trying their hardest to stay healthy and train at the same time, it is difficult when someone does get sick. Some of the players on the women’s soccer team have contracted COVID before the spring semester, and have admitted it was a hard recovery getting back on track.
SNU Junior, Nikki Lohr had COVID during the fall semester and shared what it was like trying to recover and get back practicing. She said, “ I couldn’t breathe, my lungs were hurting and my body just really couldn’t move like it did before.”
The protocols after a player gets COVID are pretty extensive. Players are not able to train for a few weeks after recovery and go through various testing from SNU athletic trainers to ensure the athlete’s heart and lungs have no issues before they start practicing again.
Another story comes from SNU Freshman Keeley Bennett, who had COVID during this past break and admitted, “My first few practices back were really hard, I wasn’t allowed to work out while I was sick so when I came back from break it was a little difficult.”
When it comes to protecting other players from getting sick, I had a chance to talk to assistant coach Sammie Smith about safety protocols during training sessions, and what steps the team is taking to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.
When asked what the team is doing to practice safe measures during this spring season, Smith replied, “ To keep people safe we are only allowing six players in the locker room at a time, we encourage them to wear masks when we’re close together explaining a drill… doing the little things like wiping down the locker room and getting it fogged every week to try and minimize the germs and keep everyone safe.”
It’s not going to be an easy semester, but it looks like the women’s soccer team is doing their part to keep themselves and others safe. The spring season kicks off at 5 pm, February 9th at Oklahoma Christian University. We encourage students to go support the team while also practicing social distancing. BOLTS UP!