Mental health issues in sports bio-bubbles on the rise as England cricket captain Eoin Morgan opens up

Lucy Nelson reflect on the England cricket bio-bubble following Eoin Morgan's recent comments.

Lucy Nelson
16th November 2020
2020 has seen the introduction of “bio-bubbles” into the sporting community, in an attempt to minimise the risk of coronavirus to allow sporting fixtures to continue.

England cricket captain Eoin Morgan believes it is “untenable” to expect players to remain in these bio-bubbles for extended periods of time due to the effect on players mental health.

"I think it is untenable, I don't think it's possible. I actually think it's probably one of the more challenging times for anybody involved in the cricket industry"

Bio-bubbles create a safe and secure environment that is isolated from the outside world to minimise the spread of coronavirus through sports teams and their families. Only those with authorized access to the bubbles, such as authorized sports persons, support staff and match official are permitted to enter the bio-bubbles, on the condition they have tested negative for COVID-19. To further protect those in these bubbles, regular COVID testing and temperature checks will be carried out for those inside the bubble and player are expected to adhere to normal social distancing rules. Players in these bubbles are unable to leave the on-site venues or hotels until the end of the series and are not allowed to visit or have their families stay with them.

For a sport’s such as cricket that are played over an extend period of time, players could face lengthy periods in the isolation bubbles. England batmans, Jos Buttler, left the bubble after 10 weeks to spend some time with his family, ultimately missing the Twenty20 against Australia. Morgan expects players will have to pull out of international tours in the future because of the additional pressures posed by isolating in these bio-bubbles saying, “We’ve spoken about this as a team and we’ve accepted that guys will come in and out of the bubble as they feel it is affecting their mental health,”. Morgan further added “I don’t think people should look down on it and they shouldn’t feel like people aren’t doing their job or not committing to their country.”

"We’ve spoken about this as a team and we’ve accepted that guys will come in and out of the bubble as they feel it is affecting their mental health"

The England cricket team will be monitored by ECB whilst in bio-bubble’s to minimise the effect on players mental health. The use of bio-bubbles has been extended to many sports, with golfs 2020 British Masters, hosted by Lee Westwood, being one of the first tournaments to take place within a bio-bubble and the Australian opening currently devising plans to allow for the tournament to take place in a bio-secure atmosphere in 2021. Morgan believes going forward “It’s about creating an environment where someone can come forward and be open and honest about how they’re felling.”, not just in the bio-bubbles but about discussing mental health within sport.

Featured image: Twitter @BBC Sport
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