Blog

January 6, 2021

Safely Participating in Sports During the Era of COVID-19

By Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

While many communities nationwide are back under stay-at-home orders due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in recent months, many areas are still open, with children attending school and sports activities in full swing. 

Although it is still advisable to refrain from large groups and to maintain safety measures like social distancing and mask-wearing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance on safely participating in sports activities while protecting yourself from the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay home if you are feeling sick, if you have come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or if you are waiting on results from a test. 
  • Bring your own equipment. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from surface contact and will enable you to keep your personal equipment sanitized. 
  • Stay at least six feet apart whenever possible. 
  • Wear a mask unless you are participating in a water-based sport, like swimming. If participating in such a sport, put your mask back on immediately after completion.
  • Clean and sanitize your hands before, during and after practices, games or meets. 

It is also highly advisable to choose outdoor settings whenever possible, particularly for high-intensity, closer-contact sports. If possible, try to play the sporting activity on a larger field or area to enable greater distancing. The CDC also recommends that travel be limited to areas within the local community. 

Participants should prepare for the sporting event by bringing extra protective equipment, like gloves, masks and hand sanitizer. It is also critical that players follow all safety protocols off the field. If they aren’t following the guidelines and are putting themselves at risk of catching COVID-19, then they are putting their teammates at equal risk.