Sports / April 24, 2020

Daniella Irle on COVID-19’s impact

Athletic Director, Daniella Irle, has been kept busy since COVID-19 swept the nation. In addition to her duties as the AD, Irle has also had to wear multiple hats during this pandemic. 

“I have three elementary age kids, so I’m the athletic director, the teacher, and the principal. So all of those things I think make for a challenging transition for us right now,” Irle said.

When COVID-19 shut down spring sports and the school, athletes and staff were now going to be separated. At the time — and even now — there was a lot of grey area surrounding the pandemic. Daniella Irle believes that the communication between the athletic department and students has been i

“Well, I think we’ve got a pretty robust communication plan going and that I think first of all I would say it differs by sport,” Irle said.

Irle has tried to touch base with the student-athletes every third week. Some sports have team calls, and Irle has participated in those calls. So far, she’s been involved in soccer and softball calls.

In addition to the calls, several of the Prairie Fire sports teams have been active on social media doing various challenges as well. Teams are staying together despite being far apart.

“There are so many different ways right now to create engagement and to create a sense of community. I think each of our teams is doing it individually And then like I said on a larger scale, strength and conditioning is filling a little bit of a void. Certainly, I’m trying to on a minimal level, and our training staff is as well. I think we’re all settling into our new norm, our new reality,” Irle said.

With the uncertainty of what COVID-19 will bring, Irle has had to put some contingency plans in place for camps.

“We’ve got plan A which is full steam ahead and then plan B It would be a smaller camp and then maybe no camps or maybe virtual camps. We have you know to prepare three or four action plans,” Irle said.

These next few months are critical and will determine what happens with fall sports. As of now, fall sports are scheduled to be played still, but there are safety precautions that will need to take place if they do go on as planned.

Knox is at a benefit by being on a trimester system. Classes do not resume until September, so the college has an extra few weeks when it comes to making decisions. The discussions right now are about when are the athletes going to return to play, and how do they return to play?

“Right now, we have to focus on looking at how we come back and what that looks like. No one has said we’re not coming back in the fall, that decision has not been made,” Irle said. “The only thing right now being discussed at the NCAA level is if we come back in the fall, how do we do it safely.”


Kyle Williams
Sports Editor

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