High school athletes aren’t letting the coronavirus prevent them from staying sharp and in shape while they can’t have formal practices or play in sanctioned games.
No one knows for sure when things are going to get back to normal and when sports can finally come back. Hillsborough and the rest of Florida’s public school districts are eyeing a May 3 return date but, if we’ve learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye.
High school athletes know that as well as anyone right now. With their seasons cut short if not entirely taken away — which we won’t know is the case for at least a few weeks — it’s gotten much harder for them to play the sports they love.
But if anyone thinks they’re just lounging around the house playing video games when they’re not taking classes online, well, that’s not really the case. Athletes are finding ways to stay fit and keep from getting rusty with the resources available to them at home.
For Durant senior Ahmad Fitts, the coronavirus presented an additional challenge. Fitts, who is rehabbing a knee injury he sustained before the start of baseball’s regular season, can’t go to his physical therapy office since it’s closed. That means he has to make do with what’s available right in front of him.
“I’m doing leg weight routines at my house,” Fitts said. “I don’t have a leg press machine, but I stick to squats. We’ve been moving recently too, so I haven’t been able to do as much as I could. I’ve also been riding my bike a lot cause that helps strengthen my knee. I do that at least 30 minutes every day.”
He expects to have to get through two to three more months of his current rehab regimen before he’s cleared for more strenuous weight lifting and baseball activity. Because he can’t apply too much pressure to his knee, Fitts has been limited to just throwing when he’s been on the field.
Strawberry Crest junior Alyssa Grimes, like many of her classmates, had trouble adjusting to a long, unexpected break from school and softball.
“No one was expecting it, so it took me a minute to get organized with doing active stuff,” Grimes said.
She’s putting in work every day. Grimes said she works with a trainer on Mondays and Wednesdays, then runs on all of her off days. She doesn’t have much face-to-face interaction with her teammates, but there is one way she’s able to work on her craft while socially distancing.
“I’ve also been meeting up with our catcher three days a week to pitch, 43 feet apart from each other,” Grimes said.
Both athletes are getting ready for college sports in one way or another. Fitts will move on from high school this year to play baseball at Florida Southern College. Grimes committed to Nova Southeastern University at the beginning of the school year. They each said the coronavirus has affected their programs of choice, but not them directly.
All anyone can do right now is hope it’ll be safe to resume sports sooner than later. No matter what happens from here on out, it seems area athletes will be ready for anything.