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Pro athletes contract Coronavirus

By Luke Mich

As the COVID-19 pandemic ensures all professional sports leagues remain on hold, let’s look back at how the virus has not only impacted the flow of many sports seasons, but also how it’s affecting various star athletes and sports personnel across the globe.

Daniele Rugani

A defender for the Italian soccer club Juventus, Rugani was the first athlete that tested positive for the coronavirus. The test came out Wednesday, March 11 and Rugani, who doubted the test, started out asymptomatic. This led to the Italian league Serie A and other professional soccer leagues across Europe being suspended indefinitely, with most of these announcements coming within 24 hours of Rugani testing positive.

Daniele Rugani was the first known sports player to have the Coronavirus. (Source:

Blaise Matuidi

A teammate of Rugani, the midfielder tested positive on Tuesday, March 17. Earlier in the day, UEFA reiterated that all European soccer leagues would conclude their seasons by Tuesday, June 30.

Utah Jazz Players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell

Later that same night, Gobert tested positive moments before his upcoming game. A few minutes later, the NBA suspended their season “until further notice.” His teammate Donovan Mitchell tested positive the next day and criticized Gobert for his carelessness toward the virus and his downplaying of its seriousness.

Valencia Players

The Spanish soccer club announced that more than a third of its players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 17. Back in February 2020, the club played a soccer match in Italy, where the outbreak began in Europe.

Kevin Durant

Star basketball player Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and three of his teammates tested positive on Tuesday, March 17. Following the announcement, Durant said, “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.”

Despite being inactive for NBA competition for nearly a year, Durant contracted the virus along with three other teammates on March 17. (Source: USA Today)

Sean Payton

The head coach for the New Orleans Saints became the first person in the NFL known to have the virus. This was revealed on Thursday, March 19, and New Orleans soon became one of the cities in the United States hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Marcus Smart

The NBA continues to get struck by the coronavirus, as the Boston Celtics guard announced he tested positive for it on Thursday, March 19. Other teams in the league announced unnamed players with it around this time, such as the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Paulo Dybala

Another Juventus player, Dybala announced that he had the virus on Saturday, March 21, saying he feels asymptomatic.

James Dolan

The New York Knicks owner tested positive on Saturday, March 28. He said he was experiencing “little to no symptoms.”

Unnamed Players

NHL announced that two players from the Ottawa Senators had it on Saturday, March 21. In the MLS, it was reported that an anonymous player from the Philadelphia Union tested positive for it on Wednesday, April 1.

Each day, there are updates of the coronavirus impacting the sports world in some way. As you can tell, many, if not all, sports leagues in the United States have been affected. However, most of these sports figures, if not all, will be or are recovered from this virus by the time this article is posted. For example, Payton was cleared on Wednesday, March 25, Gobert and Mitchell on Friday, March 27, and Smart on Sunday, March 29. These people followed self-isolation rules and managed to recover without consequences. While sports continue to be inactive due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, these postponed and delayed seasons can hopefully be played and completed soon.


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