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Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist

Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist

​​​​​​​​​If your child is participating in youth sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember to take steps that can reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Based on the the latest evidence, these tips can help keep players, coaches and families safe: ​

​Before the sports season starts:​​

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Check to make sure sports and recreation activities are approved by your local and state government.

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​Understand the new safety rules and expectations for participation during COVID-19 and talk about them with your child.

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​Each child should have their own cloth face covering, hand sanitizer, towel, water bottle, and tissues labeled with their names.

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​All youth athletes should have an up-to-date sports physical before participating.​​

Prior to practice or games:

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Athletes should stay home from practice or game if they're feeling sick or have any symptoms ​of COVID-19, and get a test if the doctor recommends. 

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Wash hands​ before arriving, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.

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​Bring labeled (with name) personal sports equipment, water bottle, towel, tissues, hand sanitizer, and cloth face covering.

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​Stay in the car or assigned school location until the coach is ready to start practice

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​Avoid gathering in groups before practice, maintain social distance and wear a cloth face covering.​​

​If an athlete has COVID-19:

​Anyone who had a positive COVID-19 test should get their doctor’s approval before returning to exercise or sports. They need a minimum 10-day resting period without exercise or competition, followed by a gradual return to physical activity over the course of at least 7 days.

​Before returning to activity, children should be screened by their doctor for heart symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, or fainting​. A child with a positive heart screening will need an EKG and referral to a pediatric cardiologist for possible additional cardiac tests.

Children who were very sick from COVID-19 or diagnosed with MIS-C must be treated as though they have an inflamed heart muscle (myocarditis) and not exercise or compete for 3 to 6 months. A pediatric cardiologist should examine these children before they are allowed to return to exercise or competition.

During sports practice or games:​

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​Athletes should maintain a physical distance as much as possible.

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Wear cloth face covering at all times during group training and competition especially on the sideline, in dugouts, and during team chats. Masks can be removed for some sports, including:

  • ​Water sports such as swimming and diving, since wet masks may be difficult to breathe through.

  • Gymnastics, cheer stunts and tumbling, and wrestling, to avoid masks getting caught on equipment or accidentally covering eyes.


​Avoid these behaviors:

  • ​Huddles, high-fives, fist bumps, handshakes, etc.

  • Sharing food or drink with teammates.

  • Cheering, chanting, or singing when ​​closer than 6-8 feet from others.

  • Spitting or blowing nose without a tissue.​

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​Store personal equipment 6-8 feet away from other teammates' equipment.

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​Minimize sharing sports equipment when possible.​

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​Sanitize hands before and after using shared equipment such as balls, bats and sticks.​

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​​Tell a coach if you are not feeling well and leave practice or game with parent or caregiver.

After sports practice or games:​

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​Sanitize or wash hands.​​

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​Wash cloth face coverings, towel and practices clothes or uniform.​

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​Clean personal sports equipment and water bottle.

Remember

Talk with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions about youth sports participation safety, based on COVID-19 in your community and your child's health.  

More Information

The information was adapted from material developed jointly by the American Academy of Pediatrics and​​​:​

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Last Updated
12/4/2020
Source
American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (Copyright © 2020)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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