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 return to sport after COVID-19, there are a number of precautions one should take.
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 physician If you are confirmed or suspected of COVID-19
- Obtain appropriate clearance from physician to allow for 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 field
- After competition, do not congregate, do not use locker rooms, exit field immediately
Specific guidelines for safe return to sports are provided below:
- Assign spots in dugout to maintain physical distancing
- No personal player bat bags/equipment allowed in dugout, space accordingly outside of dugout
- Clean baseballs should be rotated through every 2 innings
- NO spitting on field or in dugout
- 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
- If possible, conduct workouts outside to maintain physical distancing
- Sanitize equipment before session and between every use
- Do not use shared pinnies
- Players should not touch field equipment, goals, lacrosse balls or sticks
- Do not remove mouth guard once it is in during practice session
- If mouth guard makes contact with hands or ground, immediately wash thoroughly
- Field players should not handle balls with their hands unless wearing gloves
- For goal keeper training (1) ball per goalkeeper, do not share
- Use individual equipment, do not share water bottles, towels, flags, pinnie’s
- Only touch ball with feet
- Use new balls, new grips and gloves if possible
- When playing doubles, coordinate with partner to maintain physical distancing
- Use racquet/foot to pick up balls and hit them to your opponent
- Maintain physical distancing when changing ends of the court
- Use two sets of balls which are marked for each player. Serve only with your marked tennis balls.
Return To Activity after COVID-19
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Best Practices for Golf by PGA
Track and Field
National Federation of State High School Association/Sports Med Advisory Committee
JOI offers in-office and telehealth visits with our doctors and therapists. To schedule an appointment, call JOI-2000 or click the link below.