When is it Safe to Return to My Sport after COVID-19?

By Tristyn Kinser, MS, LAT, ATC

When is it safe to return to my sport after COVID-19?

Participation in athletics has many health benefits such as promoting physical fitness, improved immune system, and mental wellness. Sports can also provide a place for young athletes to learn leadership, work ethic, integrity, and concepts of teamwork. It is also important for the athlete to ease back into play; due to lack of activity players are more susceptible to under-training and overuse injuries. With the Safe to return to sport after COVID-19, there are a number of precautions one should take.

 

When is it Safe to Return to My Sport after COVID-19?

Sports Equipment for return to sports

General health precautions for safe return to every sport include:

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick or have symptoms of an illness (cough, difficulty breathing, temperature >100 degrees)
  • Practice quarantine measures and see a physician If you are confirmed or suspected of COVID-19
  • Obtain appropriate clearance from a physician to allow for a return to sport
  • If you have been in contact with someone sick or diagnosed with COVID-19, begin quarantine for 14 days
  • Advise your coach of any possible exposures in your team
  • Disinfect all equipment before/after practice/competition
  • Wash hands with disinfectant soap and water for <20 seconds before going to practices
  • Avoid sharing equipment (water bottles, towels, balls, etc.)
  • Do not huddle, shake hands, fist bump, chest bump, etc.
  • Do not spit on the field
  • After the competition, do not congregate, do not use locker rooms, exit field immediately

 

Specific guidelines for safe return to sports are provided below:

Baseball

  • Assign spots in the dugout to maintain physical distancing
  • No personal player bat bags/equipment allowed in dugout, space accordingly outside of the dugout
  • Clean baseballs should be rotated through every 2 innings
  • NO spitting on the field or in the dugout
  • No handshake after the game
Labral tears in baseball

Baseball

Golf

  • Limit group sizes
  • Do not touch pin flags, clubs, carts, towels, or bags
  • Do not tee up other players golf balls
  • Smoother bunkers with feet or a club
  • Do not share scorecards/pencils

Gym/CrossFit

  • If possible, conduct workouts outside to maintain physical distancing
  • Sanitize equipment before a session and between every use

Lacrosse

  • Do not use shared pinnies
  • Players should not touch-field equipment, goals, lacrosse balls, or sticks
  • Do not remove mouthguard once it is in during practice session
  • If mouthguard makes contact with hands or ground, immediately wash thoroughly

Soccer

  • Field players should not handle balls with their hands unless wearing gloves
  • For goalkeeper training (1) ball per goalkeeper, do not share
  • Use individual equipment, do not share water bottles, towels, flags, pinnies
  • Only touch the ball with feet

Tennis

  • Use new balls, new grips, and gloves if possible
  • When playing doubles, coordinate with a partner to maintain physical distancing
  • Use racquet/foot to pick up balls and hit them on your opponent
  • Maintain physical distancing when changing ends of the court
  • Use two sets of balls that are marked for each player.  Serve only with your marked tennis balls.

When is it Safe to Return to My Sport after COVID-19?

National Strength and Conditioning Association
https://www.nsca.com/education/tools-and-resources/covid-19-return-to-training/

Best Practices for Golf by PGA
https://www.pga.org/coronavirus-resources/Best-Practices-for-Golf

Youth Soccer
https://www.usyouthsoccer.org/resources/return-to-activity-resources/

Track and Field
https://www.usatf.org/covid19

Volleyball
https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball/Features/USA-Volleyball-Response-on-Coronavirus

 

JOI offers in-office and telehealth visits with our doctors and therapists.  To schedule an appointment, call JOI-2000 or click the link below.

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