Swinging Bridge Magazine: March 2021

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SPORTS & HEALTH

“For the most part, we are going above and beyond what the NCAA recommendations are,” Gustin-Hamrock said. “The NCAA has given us procedures to follow as a return to play protocol. We didn’t just show up and start competing, there’s a lengthy progression.”

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“They basically go to the bus, to the playing court and back to the bus. They’re not allowed to go anywhere else,” Gustin Hamrock said. “When we have teams visit us, we escort them everywhere they go so we know where they are at all times. We’re not letting them just wander campus and expose people.”

Depending on what level of risk an athlete’s sport is categorized as, they are tested one to three times per week. They are also tested before and after each competition. This is not the easy test Messiah uses for mass testing, but rather the PCR test that goes all the way back. It is not a pleasant experience for the athletes.

Athletes go through a health screening before and after getting on the bus. A unique thing teams have implemented this year is a COVID car. Each team has a car that follows the bus in case someone starts having symptoms during the ride.

The athletics department is able to afford all of the extra testing necessary to keep playing because they saved money by not competing during the fall semester. The Engle Center has helped administer the tests and consult on the safety of the athletes.

Student athletes are expected to follow the same COVID-19 regulations all other students do whenever they are not at an official competition or practice. This has been a point of confusion for some athletes and reports have been made about teams not following regulations.

In regards to travel and away games, Messiah is only playing against other MAC schools following the same testing guidelines. Athletes adhere to a strict schedule when they leave campus and never stay the night.

“They say that they hold the sports teams to higher standards but I feel like it’s more they just have greater forgiveness,” Sauder said.