PHOTO: Senior Ben Presto, member of the Davis High ski and lacrosse teams, takes a COVID test to mark on his stamp card.
By Alexandra Zurborg,
More testing off the field, so there’s more playing time on the field.
That’s the hope of a new collaboration between Healthy Davis Together and the Davis Blue Devil Athletic Boosters. The groups launched a new incentive program called Proud Super Testers.
Sanford Gladding, president of the Davis Blue Devil Athletic Boosters, believes that pushing for athletes to get tested will bring a sense of normalcy to the community again.
“If all members of our community are proactive with testing, the spread of COVID will continue to slow and our overall community health will improve, allowing the county health officials to modify or remove social and interactive restrictions,” Gladding said. “This in turn will create the opportunity for sports to start again in full capacity sooner rather than later. “
Gladding says athletes can act as role models to peers and the community. By testing regularly, their actions demonstrate the importance of testing.
If student athletes get tested more than four times a month, HDT will make a direct donation of $25 to the athletic boosters. To keep track of testing, athletes must sign up for a HDT account, obtain a “Proud Super Tester” stamp card, get the card stamped when tested and turn in the stamp card to their coaches at the end of the month.
To encourage testing, coaches and athletes go together. “Many programs are testing as a team prior to practices on a given day. We also have other teams that are not on campus daily and are encouraging athletes to test at a time that works for them. Students receive a stamp card from the athletic department or their coach,” athletic director Jeff Lorenson said.
Many students have already been participating in the program for more than a week, filling out their stamp cards for their coaches.
“We all try to schedule an appointment before practice so we usually come into practice with our COVID test ‘merch’ such as tote bags, gift cards and stickers. Once we start traveling in pods, our coach or the people in your car will ask for your test result,” said senior Riley Liu.
Athletes are willing to take the time out of their day to get tested as long as they are able to play the sports they love.
“Getting COVID tested will help the future of athletics because we don’t know how long this virus is gonna be around, so in order to continue to play the sports we love, we need to make sure we do it safely,” junior Lindsay Taylor said.
The hope is that more testing will promote safety as teams head into competition. “They want the kids back playing sports. This is why we are offering the incentive stamp cards, to get athletes out here and motivated to test,” said HDT supervisor for the Mondavi center, Monica Hatch.
While the testing is not mandatory, it is very much encouraged. “It will help because it’s all about prevention. You want to make sure that [athletes] are tested so that they could get the athletics back to normal. If you don’t get the athletes tested, this is going to keep spreading,” Hatch said.
Not many communities offer student athletes the opportunity to be tested regularly. “I think that we are very lucky here in Davis to have the ability to test like this,” said Erin Hines, HDT supervisor for the Veterans Memorial Center testing site.
HDT and the athletic boosters are hoping the new program makes the testing process easier and appealing to athletes and the community. “This program is unique to Davis and we should feel lucky to have Healthy Davis Together. By embracing this program, we are slowing the spread and taking proactive steps to getting back to our old way of social life. It is a small action that yields big results,” Gladding said.