Guidance for Restarting Youth & High School Sports after Covid-19
St. Louis Health Care Systems Collaborate to Offer Guidance for Restarting Youth and High School Sports ST. LOUIS, MO (May 19, 2020) –
We are all craving a sense of normalcy in this COVID-19 world, perhaps none more than our children. They long for the days of after-school sports practices and comradery with their teammates, on and off the field. The question looms, however; is it safe to resume youth and high school sports?
BJC HealthCare/Washington University Physicians, Mercy and SSM Health/SLU Care collaborated to offer coaches, athletic directors, and parents some recommendations for resuming organized sports and activities. Sports medicine and pediatric infectious diseases specialists from the three health systems recommend we all continue to frequently wash our hands, keep social distance, disinfect high-touch areas, and avoid touching our face. Recommendations also include:
• Athletes, coaches, referees/umpires should undergo health screenings prior to starting any activity.
• Games and practices should be scheduled to avoid overlap.
• The use of locker rooms should be avoided. If they are used, proper social distancing should be practiced.
• No spectators should attend any workout or practice.
• No sharing of water bottles, and each bottle should be clearly marked with the player’s name.
• Team huddles should be eliminated.
• No handshakes or fist bumps should take place.
• Coaches and officials should wear masks.
The clinical team of experts recommends a four-phase approach to bringing sports back, with the opportunity of phase one starting June 15, pending continued stable or downward trend of COVID cases in the given region. Each phase builds up the number of interaction players may have with each other. “The health and safety of our community is our priority, but as a father of children who are athletes, I very much recognize the desire to again enjoy things like youth and school sports,” says Alexander Garza, MD, Chief Medical Officer, St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. “To be successful with this, we must continue to be diligent in our hygiene and social distancing practices to control the spread of COVID-19.” A complete list of the recommendations can be found on each health system’s websites: • www.bjc.org/restartingsports • www.ssmhealth.com/cardinal-glennon/pediatric-sports-medicine • www.mercy.net/SportsInSTL