I am tired and torn. I am confused about the different state “phases.” I am now reading about the skyrocketing increases in infection rates some states are experiencing as a result restaurants, bars, and other activities re-opening. Then I hear that running a race is no different from going to the grocery store right now.
I worry about our athletes in adaptive sports being pushed to the wayside because they are deemed higher risk. I hear some say it might be more convenient to cancel or postpone the race for adaptive athletes but let others participate. I see some of my elders who are fit and healthy still playing golf and tennis. They are carrying on.
I listened to my good friend who is a respiratory therapist in New York City and the stress she was under in April and May. I was proud to see the USNS COMFORT and MERCY deploy to assist and then disappointed when I saw the low numbers of cases, and maybe how those staffs could have been used to assist in nursing homes across the country.
I look at the vast number of events that have been cancelled and the small race operators who cannot pay their staff or issue refunds; they will not survive this year. I feel for the BQ’ers who will not have the experience of a lifetime in Boston this year. Event after event is cancelled. Some are successfully turning to virtual events and rejoicing in the runners who post their medals and family finish lines.
I miss my volunteers. We are in June and I have not seen any of my loyal medical volunteers since last November. I miss the exhaustion of planning, packing, and rehearsing for the big events. I spend my day working on countless courses of action for hosting an event. We have a small one planned in August, maybe 200 runners. I am worried about heat stroke and breathing issues and of course, the cardiac issues we are seeing associated with post COVID-19 infections.
I plan, check equipment, order some new items, and set up training and meetings. Fire/EMS is too busy to talk and plan right now. COVID-19 and social unrest are their immediate concerns.
Do we change our waivers? Do we require anyone who had COVID-19 to get clearance from a cardiologist? Do we take participants’ temperatures? Should athletes be tested before they come to an event?
I informally reached out to our past marathon medical volunteers to get a sense of what they are thinking. No formal surveys, just asking if they would come and "If yes, did they have any question and if no, why not?" Fifteen percent responded in just a couple of days. The physicians were split 50/50, many saying no because of travel restrictions from their organizations. Most nurses said yes and wanted to know about our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards. Some stated that if our event were to happen, we must deem it safe.
What does safe mean to you? That one is hard to grapple with. Many decisions are before us. Some are in the grey zone while others are based more on ethics and morals. I know others are worried, too. And they are uncertain. I ask that we keep talking and supporting each other and working together to reach decisions and answers that are best for each of our circumstances.
I also ask, "How are you feeling?"
Shelly Weinstein, PT, MS, SCS, ATC (left) with her
sister Maureen Smith, RN.