With the spring sports season right around the corner for UMass Boston, I figured it would be an ideal time to talk about the health of the players and how vaccinations could play a part in the upcoming season. Obviously, the Covid-19 vaccine has been out for some time but has not been available for quite everyone yet. So, let’s take a look at why some student-athletes would benefit from getting the vaccine and why some could potentially be affected in a negative way.
First off, I would like to mention that the pros of getting the Covid-19 vaccine does outweigh the cons, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any cons. I have heard people say that the side effects of the vaccine could affect one’s physical health for a couple of days. I have even heard people mention that they felt like they had Covid-19 all over again after getting the vaccine. Therefore, getting the vaccine could hinder an athlete's ability to play in the short term. Many student-athletes in Division III sports need to rely on their play, ensure that they can potentially move to Division II or maybe even Division I. So, it is vital for some players to ensure that they don’t miss any time.
On the other end of the spectrum, not getting the vaccine at all could have an even greater effect on a players’ ability to play. If a student-athlete doesn’t have the option to get the Covid-19 vaccine, or just decides against getting, it could put them at risk of not being able to play for up to two weeks. Even after those two weeks it can take a while to get back to feeling 100 percent physically again. This was seen on a professional level here in Boston with Celtics star, Jayson Tatum. After 11 games back from recovering from Covid-19, Tatum had this to say in a Zoom call with reporters, “I think it messes with your breathing a little bit. I have experienced some games where I don’t want to say I’m struggling to breathe but you get tired a lot quicker than normal.” If this is the same with most athletes, then it would probably be in the athlete’s best interest to get the vaccine if it is available.
The pros of getting the vaccine would be that you wouldn't really have to worry about missing any more time due to being exposed to Covid-19 even if you feel the effects for just a couple days. A lot of people don’t end up feeling any side effects at all, so there is a possibility it could work without having to feel any effects.
Ultimately, I think that it is vital for student-athletes to, at the very least, have the option to get the Covid-19 vaccine if available. Obviously, there isn’t a guarantee that it would be available because it has to get to first responders and teachers before anyone. But if you ask me, with how big sports is in our community, and how much we want our fans to be able to return to the games as well, I think the vaccine needs to become more available to student-athletes and students. Hopefully, this vaccine can be distributed in greater quantities sooner rather than later.