Sports and COVID-19

As the school year begins and sports resume, you might be wondering what the best options are. We know that participating in sports is very important for a child’s physical and mental health. Sports help kids burn energy, stay active, focus, learn teamwork, and make friends. We also want to keep kids safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidance on how to best participate in sports and keep your child safe. 

  1. Weigh risks and benefits for each family. This means that if you live with grandparents, or have another child with a complex medical condition, the risks involved with participating in sports will be different than for another family. If you live with someone with a high-risk condition, consider limiting sports or choosing a sport that has less physical contact. Here is a link to the CDC to find a list of high-risk conditions:
  2. Sports should prioritize non-contact activities (I.e. running, drills) and use physical distancing of > 6 feetfor players. It is VERY important to limit use of smaller shared spaces, such as weight rooms, locker rooms, or the dugout. When kids must be in a small space together, they need to use masks.
  3. Make sure your team keeps kids in small cohorts that don’t mix whenever possible. This limits potential COVID exposure by keeping groups small. It also prevents the entire team from having to quarantine if someone does turn up positive for COVID. 
  4. WEAR MASKS!  This is especially important for adults, as often adults spread COVID to kids, and then kids spread it amongst each other. Coaches and spectators should always wear masks, even if outdoors. Kids need to wear masks when in the dugout, locker rooms, or on the sidelines. They should also mask when walking into and out of practice. Masks should NOT be worn when performing vigorous physical activity, when swimming, or when the mask could get caught on something during a performance or impair vision (such as cheerleading or gymnastics). 
  5. Bring your own stuff. For instance, use your own water bottles rather than using common fountains. Clean and disinfect any shared equipment. 
  6. STAY HOME if you feel sick. Ask the advice of your doctor prior to participating. This includes players and spectators. 
  7. In case of exposure or infection: 
    1. If your child is exposed to COVID-19, they will have to quarantine and refrain for exercise for 2 weeks.
    1. If your child is positive for COVID-19 and develops symptoms, they should refrain from exercise for 2-4 weeks and then come see us for sports clearance. 
    1. If your child is very ill with COVID and hospitalized, please discuss clearance for sports with us. Current recommendations for severe COVID cases are to remain sports-free for 3-6 months after infection due to the risk of myocarditis. 
    1. As always, call the office for recommendations regarding your child and his/her specific situation. 

Be well,

Drs. Leon, Berger, Mix, and Gair