As rising COVID case numbers in California put this year’s high school athletics season into more and more doubt, California athletes are petitioning to gain access to a potential solution to the problems.
The solution comes in the arrival of rapid COVID testing, which is a test that comes back in a significantly shorter amount of time compared to the average COVID test, with some test results only taking around an hour to confirm. Loyola athletes, along with athletes all around California, have unified through petitions and GoFundMe pages on social media to try and get the rapid tests into high schools in the state.
The use of rapid COVID testing in sports was what ended up saving the originally canceled Pac-12 season and has been shown to work on the much larger college level as a way to keep athletes safe while they practice and play their sport.
With seasons fast approaching and players currently not able to do full practices due to current Health Department and CIF guidelines, the introduction of these rapid covid tests could absolutely turn prospects of having a season around.
When questioned on the effect same-day testing could have on the season, senior varsity tight end/offensive linebacker Jeffrey Johnson described how the testing would help practices.
He said, “If all of the players were tested each day right before practice, I think that we would be able to do more in practices and actually have games. Same day testing would help enable players who feel they are at risk to ensure that they wouldn’t give the rest of the team Covid as they would know if they were due to the testing.”
Sophomore varsity running back Zachary Bowles echoed a similar message about rapid testing. He stated, “If high schools had access to rapid COVD tests that could give a person their results in a day, it would be a lot easier for teams to know if they only have to quarantine one group of players or the whole team before practices and games.”
Only time will tell whether these rapid tests will be able to be used on the high school level, and many more factors such as availability, cost, and scalability have to be considered. Many more things need to fall into place for the introduction to succeed, but at least the precedent of college football is a model that California can look to when deciding if/how to administer the rapid tests fairly and safely.
The overall spread of support for the tests is a promising sign for at least some change in an athletic year that currently seems to be in jeopardy as case numbers rise.