Tips For Athletes Returning To Sports Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The UFC and NBA have already found ways to continue the show amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That gave many athletes hope to return to the game. However, it is important to first know and embrace the new normal in sports. 

Governments and health experts recommend that people reduce interactions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. It will be difficult to avoid close contact in most sports. 

But there are ways to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 while playing. The first step is to determine the safety measures that can be applied from practice to the actual game. 

The most important measures that should stay, especially when in the field, are wearing face masks, checking symptoms of COVID-19 and paying attention to personal hygiene. Testing for coronavirus infection may also help protect athletes, according to David Jewison, sports medicine physician at University of Minnesota Athletics.

But the virus is not the only challenge that people would face when returning to sports. It is important to monitor the body’s condition before practice or a game since lockdowns potentially reduced physical activities, which increases the risk of injuries.

“One of our concerns with not only our athletes at the university but all of our youth athletes as we return to season, a lot of us have changed our physical activity these last couple months,” Jewison told CBS Minnesota. “And we may not be conditioned to do the thing that we were used to doing with our bodies.” 

Embracing The New Normal In Sports

UPMC Sports Medicine has issued a new playbook to guide athletes and athletic individuals of all levels in practicing or playing sports safely. Coaches, trainers and organizers can also use the guidelines to establish a safe environment for athletes as well as fans and staff during the game. 

UPMC recommends practicing with a small group of 10 to lower the risk of exposure to the coronavirus and for easier contact tracing and isolation if infection occurs. That would also allow the rest of the team to continue practicing and competing.

The playbook also highlights the importance of social distancing. It is impossible during the game but UPMC said that people should keep a six feet gap when not actively engaged in sports.

Athletes should also avoid handshakes, high fives, fist bumps and even elbow bumps. Basic safety measures must be followed, especially wearing face masks and sanitizing all equipment or items used during training and competition. 

athlete and COVID-19 UPMC Sports Medicine has issued a new playbook to guide athletes and athletic individuals of all levels in practicing or playing sports safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

Join the Discussion