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Bundesliga medical chief admits risk in playing, calls on players to be ‘disciplined’

No 100 per cent solution

FC Bayern Muenchen - Training Session Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images

The Bundesliga are leading the way in European football to restart playing in our new COVID-19 reality. With games set to go ahead next weekend, all eyes from the Premier League and other non-cancelled leagues will be on them to see how they fare and whether this will all end in disaster.

But one thing that should be abundantly clear by now is that defeating the novel coronavirus will not happen until there is a vaccine. Social distancing and lockdown measures have helped delay the spread and flatten the curve — and reduce demands on fragile healthcare systems with limited, finite resources — but unless we’re willing (and able) to completely isolate every member of society for a significant period of time (and deal with the resulting economic and societal collapse), killing it will not be possible until we have a vaccine. And that’s assuming we can even develop an effective vaccine, which isn’t a given considering our experiences with developing flu vaccines.

Basically, as lockdown measures ease around the world, we all need to acknowledge that coronavirus risk becomes a new daily factor that we have to deal with.

And just you and I will have to face that possibility when we go back to work — just as with other similar diseases, like flus and colds — football players will have to deal with that as well. Bundesliga medical chief Tim Meyer admitted as much this weekend as well.

“We do not think that any job, any profession in the country is 100% safe at this moment, as long as you deal with other human beings.

“Sometimes there are people who say, ‘there is still a little risk’. Yes there is. We will not be able to eliminate any small risk — we did a lot, we put a lot of measures in place, to make sure that infections from football are highly unlikely.”

Every time you step outside your door, you’re faced with an increased risk of illness, injury, or death. That’s just a fact of life, unfortunately.

And now those risk factors have increased. But we have to carry on, as frivolous as that may seem in certain cases, such as in the case of professional sports.

“You cannot easily be stricter than we are. You can put everyone into a complete quarantine, that is a scenario that has been debated in several countries. You can do that, but you need to be aware what you are doing then isolating a number of young men, completely, from the outside world for several weeks is not easy.

“We do not know how that would work, if it works at all, or what the consequences of it are not just on a medical but also a psychological level, we don’t know if it is feasible at all. Being stricter is difficult.”

So what can we do to minimize risk? Same thing we do for all communicable diseases. Wash your hands. Don’t cough or sneeze on others. Keep a physical distance when possible. Stay home if you’re symptomatic (and hopefully your workplace allows you to work from home).

Basically, don’t be like Salomon Kalou.

“Football has to give something back to the people now. That also means to be disciplined as a player. Keeping themselves away from the virus and the virus from them is the target. They need to be responsible.

“They are very public and need to show how to behave — on the pitch, play football as always but as soon as you leave the pitch, you are a citizen again and need to behave as a citizen in times of Corona.”

-Tim Meyer; source: Reuters

This is our new reality. Fortunately, human beings are very good at adapting.

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