Athletes find hope in vaccine

Sean Speidel | The Chronicle

Senior soccer player Ella Madden decided to get a vaccine this year so she would be protected against Covid-19 and the potential of contact tracing which could force her to miss part of her senior season.

Mason athletes are taking their shot.

In order to avoid quarantine that could prevent them from playing in games several Mason Comet athletes decided to get Covid-19 vaccine this year.

Last year athletes contact traced were ordered to sit out nearly two weeks which for some players meant missing several games. With the new rules in place regarding quarantine now athletes who have had a vaccination are not required to stay home.

The girls soccer team experienced a rash of quarantines in the first half of the 2020 season, some players even decided to self-quarantine in order to be guaranteed a chance to play in the postseason. Senior midfielder Ella Madden wasn’t about to take any chances. She took advantage of the option to self-quarantine a year ago but this year she decided to get vaccinated so she would not have to miss out on playing.

“Of course from a health perspective, getting the vaccine was the best decision for me and the team, so we can finish out the season strong and together,” Madden said. “But, I wanted to get the vaccine so there was absolutely no chance of missing out on my senior season.”

Looming quarantines left cross country runners in fear of missing important meets, especially the Greater Miami Conference championships and the postseason. With the new COVID-19 protocols stating that “anyone who is fully vaccinated will not be quarantined,” Mason cross country coach Thomas Rapp said that there has been a positive mental impact on his athletes due to the stability that being vaccinated offers.

“I think that the vaccine allows our athletes to be able to focus and not have this cloud hanging over their head,” Rapp said. “A calm and relaxed athlete makes a better athlete.”

Vaccinations and safety measures will also allow the format of most cross country meets to get back to normal. The Mason Invitational will be back to approximately 3,500 competitors compared to the 900 allowed last year, giving the runners a sense of normalcy.

A year ago, Mason football player Larson Brown was forced to sit out several practices and even miss games when he was quarantined due to contracting Covid-19. Now the starting quarterback as a junior, Brown did not want to find himself in a position to be quarantined or possibly getting infected again. So he decided to get vaccinated. He was skeptical at first but finally made the decision that he didn’t want his season interrupted.

“I was a little bit hesitant at first,” Brown said, “but I didn’t want to miss any football so I made sure to get vaccinated.”
Last year junior swimmer Lauren Nguyen was forced to miss the GMC Swim and Dive championships due to quarantine. Nguyen, who also plays water polo, wasn’t about to miss out on competing this fall. She decided that getting vaccinated was in her best interest to ensure that she was not quarantined.

Nguyen said that having the COVID-19 vaccine allows her to forget about the barrier of being quarantined, and allows her to concentrate on developing her water-polo skills.

“Being vaccinated makes me worry less about getting sick and having to miss any games,” Nguyen said. “Now I can focus on my training and competing without the stress of being quarantined or even getting sick.”

Photo contributed by Lily Haller