By Lila Nolan, Staff Writer
Over the past several months, life and everything it entails has abruptly forced us to evolve due to the coronavirus. Athletes at Long Island University have had to make significant seasonal lifestyle changes to safely progress during this ongoing pandemic.
For collegiate athletes, staying in shape during your season and the offseason is detrimental to being successful. Amid the current pandemic, entire university athletic programs have been put in abrupt foreign situations. In efforts to contract the spread of the virus, athletes have had to adapt to these new guidelines to participate in the sports they love. Within the early months of quarantine, the state shut down all gyms and workout facilities; most still are. This has a direct impact on student-athletes training to stay in shape. Athletes cannot pause on their training regimens, so many have to figure out alternative ways to stay in shape.
Jamie Alvino, a senior on the women’s’ lacrosse team studying health sciences and nutrition/diabetics, claimed when everything was shut down, athletics had protocols to keep athletes in shape.
“When COVID started, my teammates and I were emailed by our strength and conditioning coach specific workout plans. They were not mandatory to do but highly recommended. The workouts were emailed around the first week in April,” Alvino said.
The four-year member of the LIU Sharks women’s lacrosse team continued to keep up with the athletics staff’s measures. “Since then, and until the 2020 school year started, I have been following our team’s workout plan. It was mixed with cardio, HIIT, and strength training (bodyweight). When the LIU Post campus closed for two weeks in mid-October, we were emailed again with home workouts that I followed as well.”
Camden Orth, a sophomore broadcasting major and starting quarterback for the football team, shared that he has been making the most of the whole situation. “I’ve spent a majority of the semester at home working out and attending classes through zoom. I have a weight room set up in my garage,” he said. “I work out five days a week and do mobility work seven days a week.”
Since the start of the 2020 school year, teams have granted some allowances for their usual schedules. Although athletes are grateful for this opportunity, many would agree that the circumstances given are not the traditional wholehearted team vibes from the past. Athletes and coaches will attest that isolated and socially distanced practices and workout sessions have directly impacted their teams.
Alvino shared, “I’ve definitely noticed a direct impact on our team’s bond due to COVID safety protocols. Since we have to remain socially distancing when playing on the field, it was a difficult start,” she said. “We started in groups/pods of 5, so it was definitely hard to connect with people outside of our group. But as time went on, we were able to branch out of our groups/pods and play with different groups. My teammates and I are just doing everything we can to stay safe, have fun and focus on the sport we all love to hopefully be able to complete in the 2021 spring season.”
Jilian Hugh, a sophomore criminal justice major on the cheerleading team, claimed the athletic staff taught the team knew workouts to stay in shape throughout the pandemic. “Starting off the fall 2020 season, the coaches provided our program with an hour of assistance each week from LIU’s athletic trainer. We were taught many different exercises along with how to use the various types of weight-room equipment properly and efficiently. The workouts are intended to work every part of our bodies. Our routine begins with basic cardio, warm-ups, and stretching. After that, we begin the more intense, fast pace workouts that may include things like dumbbells, medicine balls, and cardio machines.”
In efforts to keep the entire LIU community safe during these worrisome times, the student-athletes have been extremely optimistic and understanding, given their current circumstances. Teams have even begun alternative ways to bond and stay in shape together.
Emma Cantwell, a junior early childhood education major on the women’s lacrosse team, shared that leadership has been vital in getting the team through these rough times.
“Although COVID has impacted our fall season dramatically, our Coach has done an amazing job in finding new and innovative ways to keep us connected. As a result, we have experienced a great deal of events on zoom, such as team yoga.”
During the start of quarantine, many expressed the importance of ‘we’re all in this together’; our student-athletes are demonstrating the same hopeful attitudes during these trying times. Despite seasons being postponed and some even canceled, optimistic attitudes like this are what make transitioning to our new normal more pleasant.
Alyssa Boll, a senior education major on the women’s lacrosse team, believes the team has become stronger together.
“This whole situation definitely made us closer as a team because we had to figure out how to have team chemistry while being socially distant. We all worked together to keep each other safe and healthy, so we’re able to compete together as a family.”
Jillian Hugh added that safety is of utmost priority. “While navigating through these new COVID regulations, we mainly all want to make sure we are comfortable, staying safe, and mainly healthy. Our new normals are focused around making sure that our health comes first, and we do our best to prevent the spread.”
The LIU athletic community has committed entirely to staying in shape, maintaining the optimistic essence of our athletic department, and ultimately staying safe under the coronaviruses set safety regulations.