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What Does the Coronavirus Do to an Athlete’s Body?

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While LeBron James has been able to self-isolate in a lavish home gym stocked with dumbbells and weight machines, many of his peers, some of whom live in perhaps less stately abodes, have scrambled to make do. Serge Ibaka, for instance, has posted on Twitter about his makeshift quarantine setup: an exercise bike, resistance bands and some small hurdles. With fitness facilities and campus weight rooms shuttered in much of the country, Ibaka’s spread is robust compared to what, say, NFL players low on the depth chart and most college and high school athletes will have access to in the coming weeks, perhaps months.

After all, not everybody can afford to drop $2,245 on a Peloton bike, a la Rory McIlroy and Usain Bolt, who are dedicated enthusiasts. Consider the New Jersey middle school softball player who posted a video doing kettlebell swings with a gallon of fruit juice in her kitchen, or the Dakota State defensive end who filled an equipment bag with 190 pounds of stuff and used it for unwieldy deadlifts, or the legions of others doing pushups in their driveways.

The inconvenience of derailed training regimens, of course, is insignificant when held against a cratering economy and the hundreds of thousands across the world suffering from COVID-19, but the virus and its fallout are bound to take a toll on nearly every athlete’s body, infected or not, by the time sports return.

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