The COVID-19 outbreak has infected 6,943,078 individuals and caused more than 200,000 deaths in the United States. It has also infected sporting events across the country. Since the onset of the pandemic has spread to all the states, the government has set self-isolation rules and social distancing measures – all of which have disrupted many aspects of life, including sports and physical activity.

Despite the safety measures in place, the risk of COVID-19 is still imminent. Even the best Obermeyer ski jacket or Smith-Holt helmets cannot protect players from the disease. But does this mean the sporting industry will be on a halt for an extended time?

How is the temporary pause affecting the industry?

COVID-19’s Impact on Sporting Events

To safeguard the health of athletes and other people involved, a majority of major sporting events at national, regional and international levels have been postponed or canceled – from football tournaments to marathons, basketball games to athletic championships, skiing, sailing, ice hockey and wrestling, among others.

The Paralympics and the Olympics, for the first time in the history of modern games, have been postponed, as well.

In the face of COVID-19, thousands (if not millions) of jobs are also at risk. When sporting events were canceled or postponed in mid-March, the move cost 1.3 million sports jobs: reduced, furloughed, or erased. The job loss is among scouts and coaches, fitness trainers, recreation and amusement attendants, and lifeguards. A huge variety of other sports occupations – from dancers to game wardens, from locker room attendants to umpires – have also been affected.

The job loss doesn’t just affect sports professionals. Those in related sporting and retail service industries linked with events and leagues, which include tourism, travel, transportation, media broadcasting and catering, are also losing their livelihood. Professional athletes are also pressured to reschedule their training and maintain a regular exercise routine at home, putting their lucrativesponsorship deals at risk.

How Does This Effect Social Development?

The cancellation of games also impacts many social benefits of national and global sporting events. These community activities can contribute to the emotional excitement, cement social cohesion, as well as the fans’ identification with athletes (which leads to increased physical activities).

Sports have fostered bridge-building and communication between communities and generations. Through sports, a variety of social groups play a crucial role in developing and transforming societies, particularly the divided ones.

Fortunately, the pandemic has not stopped sporting organizations from showing their solidarity. Major organizations are working together to reduce the spread of the virus.

For example, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch the ‘Pass the Message to Kick Out Coronavirus’ campaign, which was led by popular football players. The campaign encouraged fans and players alike to follow proper sanitation steps, social distancing measures, and self-isolation protocols.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity and Well-Being

The pandemic has also resulted in the closure of stadiums, gyms, fitness studios, pools, and playgrounds. As a result, many individuals are unable to actively participate in daily physical and sporting activities. Under such conditions, they may tend to be less active, experience irregular sleeping patterns, have longer screen time, and worse diets, resulting in loss of physical fitness and weight gain.

Lack of access to exercise and physical activity also impacts an individual’s mental well-being. This can compound anxiety or stress – a normal side-effect that comes with self-isolation in the midst of a crisis. Possible loss of loved ones from COVID-19 and the virus’s impact on the economy exacerbate these effects, as well.

Fortunately, many individuals can still exercise despite the limited space and lack of equipment. For those whose home life involves extended hours of sitting, there are still options for daily activities, such as doing housework, stretching, dancing to music, or climbing the stairs. For people with Internet access, there are plenty of free resources on how to stay active while in isolation.

Content creators have crafted custom workouts tailored to different people; from meditation, stretching, and dance classes the entire family can join to personal free tutorials – the internet has everything.

As the world slowly recovers from COVID-19, there will still be issues that need to be addressed to ensure the safety of sporting events at all levels. These precautions will include the adaptation of events to reduce the spread of any disease among athletes, fans and vendors. Despite the changes due to COVID-19, there is still hope for the sporting world to rise from the pandemic – albeit different from before.