Student athletes cope with new reality


Sadie LeComte

Digital Editor

COVID-19 brought the athletic community to its knees. 

The Southland Conference is one of many groups that have cancelled its spring games due to the growing pandemic. 

While many student athletes can look forward to playing next year, the graduating seniors may not be as fortunate. 

Hayley Barbazon is a senior nursing major and outfielder for Lady Demon Softball. 

She said she felt this was their year to win and commended her teammates for starting the season off strong. 

The Division 1 Council of NCAA schools will vote Monday to determine eligibility for athletes involved in spring sports.

Even if another year of eligibility is approved, Barbazon said she made plans for after graduation and may not come back to play again. 

“Just the thought of having to start over is hard because we have had our hearts set on this year for a long time,” she said. 

In the meantime, Barbazon, like many others, must work on her studies. 

For nursing majors, the switch to online courses carries its own unique problems.  

Part of the curriculum for nursing school majors is getting clinical hours at a hospital, but due to recent events, Barbazon said her classes are switching to virtual simulations. 

Because they can’t get their clinicals done, Barbazon said she may not be able to move on to her next classes, which pushes her graduation back. 

She said the situation is stressful, but she is trying to stay positive. 

“I know everyone is working their hardest to keep everyone safe and on track,” she said. 

Kyle Swanson is a fifth year senior and Demon Baseball pitcher pursuing a graduate degree in health promotion. 

He said the decision to end the season has been difficult knowing all the success the team has put in. 

“Usually a season ends out on the field, but this one ended for our team while we were sitting at home,” Swanson said. “Because of that it just hurts a little differently.”

Swanson and his teammates heard about the decision to go online through social media, he said. He said it left him feeling loss and disassociated. 

Given the success the Demons had this season, he said he’ll always be left wondering what could have been.

Despite this, Swanson said he finds comfort in knowing the decision is about more than baseball. He said it’s worth cutting the season short if it means preventing the spread of the virus. 

“I know the guys on our team will come back even stronger not only on the field, but in their lives because of this,” Swanson said. 

He commended the freshman players for their success this year, adding he is confident the team will come back stronger next season. 
Correction: A previous post left out Kyle Swanson’s role as a Demon Baseball pitcher.