Decision Making in Sport: The COVID-19 Lessons


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This post highlights a very disturbing and longstanding dilemma, of DECISION MAKING IN SPORT! This problem has been brought to the forefront in 2020, by the unfolding, devastating COVID-19 pandemic.


It was very obvious by February of this year, that the COVID-19 problem was getting out of hand. This was more so in the continents with the highest sporting activity, the biggest leagues, and the largest number of Athletes.

Decision had to be taken as to whether to suspend or cancel league games and tournaments, including major tournaments. But what the world witnessed was the usual indecisiveness.

Leagues rolled on, and preparations for tournaments continued. Tourist hotspots with Sporting facilities such as skiing resorts, kept their gates and doors open to the international community. And countries kept their airports and borders open to travel to such non-essential destinations, including destinations in countries already experiencing an explosion of Coronavirus cases. Even cold environment Sports remained open to people from all over the world. This was obviously very dangerous for visitors from warm parts of the world, as there were lots of viruses floating around, including the novel Coronavirus, and people’s immune systems would be sub-optimal in the cold conditions.

Reports began to surface, of Sporting tourists being infected with Coronavirus, sometimes with entire travel groups affected.

Athletes continued with their rigorous training. Then, one by one, reports came out, of Athletes who had contracted Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19.



But the “fun” rolled on!

Later, some quarters in the global Sporting Community began to lose patience with the indecisiveness, and tensions began to creep in, unnecessary tensions and controversies that could have been averted!


Readers who work or have ever worked as Team Physiotherapists, Team Doctors, etc, know how many a Team Owner or Committee Member can be very demanding in the face of adversity. When a Player gets injured or falls ill, the commonest question is, “will s/he be able to play next week?” (or even tomorrow if the next match is tomorrow!)


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We need to realise that Athletes / Players are human beings, and that even though Sport has become big business today, we cannot or should not put them in harm’s way for any reason whatsoever, especially because many of them are young people with many years ahead of them.

Playing Sport or continuing exercises when one has a viral infectin on board, is very risky, as this may cause a serious condition of the heart muscles, called VIRAL MYOCARDITIS. This condition, though rare (and thankfully not reported in Coronavirus affected Athletes!), carries a very high mortality rate even in the best health centres in the world.


It is understandable, as mentioned above, that a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on Sport. A lot of money has been pumped into Sport since the latter decades of the Twentieth Century. Management teams, Agents, Broadcasters, Promoters, and many other parties depend on the continuance of Sporting activities as per contracts. But lessons have to be taken from such painful occurrences as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please, stay safe and keep others safe!!

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12 Replies to “Decision Making in Sport: The COVID-19 Lessons”

  1. Hey nice article you have there. Sporting activities as a game has a far reaching impact to the society at large, first it tends to strengthen economic ties, act as a source of revenue to many households and serves as rewards system to sport lovers through sport  betting. Since the outbreak of Covid 19,  all these activities has been restricted thereby living does that depends on it for survival stranded. Not only has Covid 19 affect sporting activities but it has affect virtually all sectors of the economy and has resulted to low sales, so therefore countries of the world are devicing strategies to revive their economy

    1. Hi,

      Grateful for your input. Glad that the article is of value.

      The economic losses due to COVID-19 can be reversed to differing extents. But extreme care will have to be taken, lest the situation is worsened. There should be a gradual return to normalcy. No rush.

  2. Hello dear, thanks for sharing these information with us all, I really enjoyed reading these article, I was amazed with the choice of words and write up skills, and yes I will say if sport activities was closed up during the pandemic and all borders being shut close, the covid 19 spreading wouldn’t have been these destructive, I really pray that these pandemic stop soon, thanks a lot for the info

    1. Thank you.

      COVID-19 could have been controlled and limited to a localised epidemic, or a mild pandemic, really.

  3. You are so right with you have said, there is so much money that is made in the world of sports because there is so much that is invested in this business. Unfortunately because of this virus games had to be expired to stop the spread which means so much money was also lost but this action is necessary for the well fare and safety of persons when it relates to our health. Better to postpone sporting events than to endanger lives by large gatherings. Covid 19 has done so much in changing our lives but we will beat this God’s willing and life will return to normal, meaning we will be able to take part in and enjoy those sporting events again.

    1. Thanks Norman.

      Things will hopefully revert to normal, slowly and carefully.

      Hopefully a vaccine will become available in the coming months to years. In that way COVID-19 will be no worse than measles, TB, etc.

  4. What an inspiring post! Several sporting organizations across the world have learned the hard way after they had invested a lot of resources into sporting activities and made sporting their major source of livelihood. No one visualized the occurrence of COVID-19 just as the pandemic that killed half the world population in the 16th century wasn’t visualized by anyone. It’s been a painful experience indeed but we’re all hoping to see the end of this killing virus soonest.

    Israel Olatunji

    1. Thanks very much for your insights Israel.

      Painful as it has been, hopefully lessons have been learnt. And now as the Sporting world contemplates opening up again, EXTREME CARE AND CAUTION will have to be the order of the day. We must get used to the new normal.

      The losses incurred, can be recuperated. Safety must come first.

  5. Great article with so much that could have been done so much earlier on and sometimes you just do not realise whether this was intentional due to bad decisions and lack of acknowledgement. I do not think that the world did enough to learn from one another and especially with sport where the number of athletes who travel from different parts of the world is clear.

    Thank you fitness at home is definitely a wise choice right now.

    1. Hi Imelda,

      Thanks. 😊

      The world in general, and the Sporting world in particular, definitely did not do enough, and was not decisive in preventing the catastrophic spread of the novel Coronavirus.

      But this is probably the first time in history that the global Sporting community faces a health challenge like this one. Let’s hope lessons have been learnt, for next time.

  6. I agree with what you said that a lot of livelihood depend on sports. Like for example, the team of Manny Pacquiao, that Filipino boxer who rose to the top of the world of boxing. Now that COVID-19 is raging not only in China but in America as well, these boxers is also having a hard time coping up with the crisis.

    With what’s happening around us today, if the students can continue their classes even though they don’t meet with teachers in a physical classroom, there’s trend going on right now of allowing students to take their lessons via online. But what about boxers and other high flying sports players? Are they going to push with the idea that only the boxers and the referee is seen, people would no longer be required to go to Las Vegas, they can now watch the sporting events through their home channels.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your input.

      Sports Administrators have to take a deep look into the alternatives to Spectators going to events, where they could be exposing themselves and others to danger again. I believe there is enough technology to address the challenge, in all countries. There are pay channels that can broadcast Sports, and maybe this is a chance for them to show us what they can really do. I believe in them.

      The only we can go forward now, is with GREAT CAUTION.

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