Returning To Sports After COVID-19
By Ehren Allen, DPT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of spring sports for most schools and clubs. While this has been disappointing for many young athletes, there is hope on the horizon. Sports will return. Athletics will be a part of our lives again.
As a parent, I can appreciate the break. Having my family home for dinners in the evening has been a nice silver-lining to this unexpected situation. But the kids doing virtual school and staying home most of the time can lead to decreased conditioning. This could be an issue when they are returning to sports after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Returning to Sports After COVID-19: How Do You Keep Your Child Motivated?
If your child’s sport was canceled during COVID-19, they can become discouraged. Talk to them about what is happening. Assure them that this will pass and that things will get back to normal soon. Discuss with them the importance of continuing to train. If they play a team sport, it may be necessary to do some individual conditioning.
Many coaches and sports clubs are offering virtual training. This can help your child feel a continued connection to their teammates and continue to receive instruction from their coach.
Stay positive when you discuss the time off from the sport and encourage them. Positive reinforcement tends to keep kids interested in their athletic activity.
How Do You Keep Your Child In-Shape During COVID-19?
Sitting at a computer all day at home doing school work does not usually motivate kids to exercise. It can lead to fatigue, excessive snacking, and deconditioning. We were not meant to sit all day. Kids especially need exercise! Here are some tips to try to keep your kids in shape during COVID-19:
- Lead by example. Parents who exercise regularly can model that behavior for their kids.
- Buy Healthy Snacks. It’s ok to let your kids indulge here and there but they should eat healthy foods as the norm. Kids will usually grab the easy and yummy snack option. Have fruit and vegetables available and accessible and prepare balanced healthy meals.
- Have your child wake up at the normal school time. Keeping regular sleep cycles can help your child focus in school and decrease fatigue with activity.
- Help your child set up a training regimen. Have them help come up with the training and exercise routine. This can give them a sense of ownership and help them buy-in to the training. Encourage them to come up with training activities that they think are important for their sport.
- Consider an exercise app. There are many apps available to help with home exercise and conditioning programs. If you choose to download and use and app, help your child choose a program that is appropriate for their fitness level.
If you would like more tips to help with your daily routine during COVID-19, this article from the National Athletic Training Association may help.
Will My Child Be Ready for Returning to Sports After COVID-19?
It is difficult to plan “off-season” training when we don’t know when the season will begin. It is a little easier with spring sports because there is more time. But, fall sports may begin right around the corner. It is important to be ready.
Discuss the importance of being prepared for the sport with your child. Nobody ever regretted being prepared and conditioned. There would be regret though if the season began and they were not ready.
If your child’s coach is holding virtual training sessions, have your child participate. Encourage them to do some sort of strength training and conditioning work every day.
What if My Child is Injured During COVID-19?
Injuries can occur, even when training and exercising at home. If this happens to you or your child, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute offers ASAP Fracture and Injury Services. This allows patients with mild injuries or even possible fractures to be seen quickly in one of our JOI physician offices, without a trip to the Emergency Room. (Severe trauma and obvious open fractures should still go to the Emergency Department)
JOI also offers Telemedicine visits with our doctors and therapists, as well as traditional in-office visits.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, call JOI-2000 or click the link below.