Clara Liu '23
On Sept. 21, student-athletes at Archbishop Riordan High School were welcomed back onto campus for off-season workouts that provided a safe environment for exercise, preparing the athletes for their upcoming seasons.
Led by Ryan Jones ’09, strength and conditioning coach, these workouts are taking all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Jones said, “Every precaution that we can take, we’re taking in terms of the cohorts and spreading kids out. We’re also limiting sharing of equipment, which is a huge one. The other precaution we’re taking is social distancing.”
Along with COVID-19 came the cancellation of sports. Workouts, practices, and seasons were either cancelled or delayed, including Riordan sports, which were moved to January. In efforts to bring back sports, many programs and schools have been working on plans that will allow for the safe return of athletes and athletics in general.
One session was cancelled due to bad air quality, and a pod was shut down for a week because of a possible case of COVID-19. All precautions were taken and everything was sorted out, bringing everything back to normal.
The precautions being taken are important to the overall safety of the athletes attending the workouts. In addition, the roles of athletic trainers and coaches have changed in various ways as they have had to adapt to the new changes.
Erin Stovall, head athletic trainer at Riordan, explained, “The very nature of an athletic trainer’s job requires us to often be within that 6 foot bubble, providing hands-on care. We have obviously had to adapt and change our skills to allow for a more socially distant atmosphere. I have begun doing remote Zoom consultations for injuries that are not urgent or severe. I am limiting my hands on involvement with athletes to those that only truly need it; for example serious or urgent injuries.”
Not only are the precautions and guidelines protecting the coaches and trainers, they also form a safe environment for the athletes where they can work out.
Stovall stated, “Each day an athlete is on campus for workouts they must pre screen prior to arrival, a temperature check is given at the door when they enter for workouts. Within their cohorts, athletes are further divided into pods of no more than 14 athletes. They are required to wear masks at all times, and socially distance by cones placed on the field. Pre-filled water bottles are kept at their cones to prevent congregating during water breaks. If at any point equipment is used, it is properly cleaned before and after each use and there is no sharing at any point between different pods.”
With these off-season workouts, athletes are given the opportunity to prepare for their sports seasons which are expected to return in the near future. They provide a safe environment for exercise as everyone eagerly awaits the day structured athletics come back to campus.
Leonardo Jimenez ’22 said, “The workouts have helped me reconnect with my friends while doing something productive and staying safe.”