Like an offense in New Hampshire high school basketball, the coronavirus is in complete control of the clock.

Unlike being in an offensive set, there’s no game clock — the time frame of the coronavirus, and how long it will linger, is uncertain. On Monday the death toll in the U.S. surpassed 10,000 in total. These times, like none ever, require the best defense.

“At Keene High School, the health of our students is the utmost priority,” Keene Athletic Director Michael Atkins said. “We must be sure that there is absolutely no threat of spreading the virus before we think about bringing our students back to school and re-starting interscholastic athletics. The priority must be to stop the spread of the virus. While we all want to get back to normal and restart our regular lives, including school and sports, the health and safety of our school community, the Keene community and the entire state must take precedence.”

While high school athletes hope for a chance to play out their spring seasons, each day that passes brings more uncertainty.

With high school careers facing the real possibility of being cut short, the health of athletes globally is more important than a goal being scored, a home run being hit or a state record being run.

In research conducted by the CDC, they analyzed confirmed cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories that occurred between Feb. 12 and April 2. Of the 149,760 cases where age was known, 1.7 percent of them were individuals younger than 18 years old.

With most high school athletes falling in that age group, the fact that area athletes have had to leave their sport is only beneficial. If there was a win-and-loss column, this is a blowout victory.

While athletes at all competitions wonder when they’ll return to their sports, during this time sports are deservedly an afterthought to the health of all. But the spring sports season is still tentatively scheduled to begin competition on May 13.

“At the state level, we as athletic administrators have a plan in place if we get ahead of this pandemic and can safely go back to school and athletic competitions,” Atkins said. “That can only happen if everyone does their part to stop the spread of the disease. All we can do is help to prepare our athletes remotely for that day if it arrives. We sincerely hope that it does, but that is unclear at this point in time.”

While the young and healthy are in better condition to survive the illness, they’re still not immune to it.

And with that, athletes in the area understand the severity the illness brings with it.

“I definitely think high school athletes understand the concern over the coronavirus,” Keene High School athlete Emily Boswell said. “We are all upset about our seasons, but it comes down to keeping everyone safe, and if that means our seasons are canceled, then they get canceled.”