The Gustavian Weekly

Sports are back (kind of): Gusties prepare to return to campus for athletic practices - The Gustavian Weekly

By Jack Wiessenberger - Staff Writer | September 25, 2020 | Sports & Fitness

Gustavus athletes and coaches are set to return to practice this fall. Though all sports in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) have been postponed until next year, teams are finding ways to work with COVID guidelines in order to prepare for the upcoming season. Protocols have been put in place to help keep athletes safe while still allowing them to train.
“Gustavus is following guidelines set by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for re-socialization and return to sport. Athletes are having daily temperature checks and COVID [screenings] completed prior to team practices,” Head Athletic Trainer Troy Banse said.
Over the summer, Lund Center was updated with the goal of creating a safer environment.
Facial scanners that identify athletes as well as check their temperature have been placed at the main entrance. Cardio machines such as treadmills and ellipticals have been separated to accommodate social distancing. The area inside the indoor track has been made into a makeshift weight room for teams to use.
In order to use any of the equipment, athletes must sign up for a timeslot at the information desk. The Athletic Training Room (ATR) has also switched to a primarily appointment-based system.
“[Almost] all access to the ATR will be by appointment through the athletic training system to see an athletic trainer for non-urgent items such as rehab and basic treatment. All athletic training staff will be wearing masks and face shields as well,” Banse said.
The changes to the way Lund Center operates is something that all athletes will have to get used to while training for their sports.
With the new scheduling system, finding times to workout has become more challenging than ever. Some athletes are feeling frustrated with the restrictions put in place.
“I used Lund almost everyday last year. The fact that I am still paying for the right to use it but not getting any compensation for the limited availability is tough. But that’s no excuse to not continue to work hard and find other methods of training,” Junior Baseball athlete Nicholas Azar said.
This new way of life in Lund has already presented a number of challenges. Athletes are attempting to work through the distractions in order to focus on having a good season. For the season to happen, though, safety must be made a priority during practices now.
“Our team has been working overtime to stay safe. Everytime we go to the field we are all masked up. We maintain six feet of distance and even have separate ball buckets for our workout pods. I have talked with the coaches about the plan for the upcoming practices and to call their plan thorough would be a huge understatement[…]The bottom line is we all just want to play ball,” Azar said.
Athletes want their teams to be safe because they know that one positive test has the ability to halt all team activities. Every team that has already begun fall practices has been working hard to make the necessary safety changes.
“I believe the track coaches and athletes are doing a good job trying to keep us all safe throughout all of this. It’s hard to get used to wearing masks when working out, especially when outside, but it’s something we need to do[…] I think if we all do our part, Gustavus and the athletic programs can stay open for the remainder of the semester,” Thompson said.
Coaches have been tasked with making sure their teams have the new safety protocols down. The COVID protocols put in place will see their first real stress-test next week when all students are brought back to campus.
Athletes will be working for a safe and successful training season in hopes of returning to competition next year.

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