how to transition back to sports during COVID-19
sports return with Covid-19
What will sports look like when they get the go-ahead to start practicing again? This is a common question coming through our sports medicine department, and everyone has an opinion. Ohio is allowing limited contact sports to begin practicing on May 26. One rule is that there will be no high fives, spitting, or sunflower seeds in baseball. Yes, the guidelines are getting that detailed. Teams are trying to navigate the new guidelines and figure out what practice will look like, rules about spectators, considerations for games, and safe travel.
To make it even more complicated, many youth sports governing boards are coming out with their own guidelines as well. Some of them compliment the state’s guidelines, some don’t. It’s ok to ask questions.
If you have concerns, ask your sports organization how they are handling issues such as:
- Pick up and drop offs; are parents allowed in the facility?
- How are they cleaning the facility, equipment and surfaces that players come in contact with?
- How will practice or games be adjusted so players stay 6 feet part?
If we thought shutting sports down was a mess back in March, I think that opening them up again will be even trickier. Everyone wants to do the right thing and keep players, spectators, and game officials safe. So, how do you decide what’s safe and what guidelines to follow?
My recommendation is that your team follows the state guidelines for things such as:
- Group size
- Which sports can practice
- Which facilities are open
Anything not covered in these guidelines should resort back to their league’s governing board statement, if one exists. If one does not exist, follow the NHFS guidelines, for now.
Until then, we are all taking this day-by-day. Guidelines will change as our knowledge changes.
Like everything in sports, we all need strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, and good sportsmanship. But this time, we need all of those for our mental health.