Campus athletes return to training
Student athletes back in the gym – but not in the same way
At the University of Regina, many sports teams have returned to training, even though the majority of seasons have been cancelled or pushed back to a later date due to current U Sports regulations.
The athletes have returned to campus for training, but practising looks very different than what the students are used to. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) guidelines allow for contact sports to return, yet the University has implemented significantly more strict protocols for staff and students.
“Obviously we have been following the provinces slow and conservative return to activity,” says Lisa Robertson, the University of Regina’s Director of Sport, Community Engagement, & Athlete Development.
The return to the university was not a decision that was reached easily – there was consultation with athletic directors from all of the Canada West universities, sport medicine doctors, sport scientists, and an athletic therapist to ensure the safest possible return for all involved.
“They prepared a report for our athletic directors to review in regards to what they found and what medical advice was and they didn’t see that we would be ready nor would it be seeable for all four provinces to be ready by September to deliver sport, in terms of competitive contact sport,” says Robertson. “So far, I’m super proud of the level of responsibility our student athletes are taking with this.”
For student athletes, it has been difficult to navigate all the changes. They are enthusiastic to return to training as normal, but for now are having to make the best of the situation and continue training for when play resumes.
“At first I was pretty nervous,” expressed Mira Cappello, a goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team. She has had mixed emotions regarding her teams return to the field.
“I have just been very cautious about COVID and about, like, who I’ve been in contact with and I know some of the girls that are here in Regina haven’t been super cautious, so that was just a bit of a concern for me,” said Cappello.
The cancellation of the 2020 soccer season has brought about many concerns for athletes, especially those who are getting closer to graduation. “I feel like it will be really difficult for some of the older girls, including myself, to make some decisions about whether or not we’re going to stay,” said Cappello. “Right now, I think everyone is just trying to focus on getting back and next season.”
Ron Maclean, a track and cross-country athlete, is happy to be running again. Even though the cross-country season has been cancelled, he has high hopes that the track season will begin in the new year.
“It’s just kind of weird when you’re not training for anything, but it is definitely good to get back to it because I love doing it,” said Maclean.
COVID-19 has forced changes in many aspects of life, yet Maclean says it has not altered team dynamics. When asked about what his biggest fears were about the impacts of COVID Maclean said they mainly surround the inability to capitalize on the momentum of the last few seasons.
“Our team has been building for the last couple of years and next year was going to be our year to really do well – just not having one final good run with them,” Maclean said when asked about his biggest fears about the impacts of COVID.
Faith Reid, a women’s basketball player, expressed much frustration and concern regarding the effects COVID will have on her sport long-term.
“I haven’t taken a practice off because I was feeling like shit in years,” said Reid. She hopes that the current precautions do not impact practices and player engagement in the future.
There will be announcements made in October about what sports, if any, will have a season beginning in January according to both Canada West and U Sports.