Aug 6, 2020Sports Medicine Professional’s Advice on Youth Sports Returning
As a sports medicine physician and a mother of two young boys, Korin B. Hudson sees both sides of the argument to have youth sports return to action amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the one hand she, like many other parents, understands the important role athletics play in the well-being and health of young kids. But, on the other, Hudson also realizes there’s no way to eliminate the risks completely — only reduce them.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, Hudson shared her experience as both a parent and healthcare professional in weighing the option for her children to resume athletic activities.
“There is no way to make playing on a sports team completely risk-free, but we can focus on reducing the dangers as much as we can. There are simple, responsible steps that parents, athletes, and teams can take to minimize the risk of infection and help kids to safely get back to the sports they love. I call them the three T’s: tempering risks, tracking cases, and training safely,” Hudson wrote in the Washington Post.
When she mentions tempering risks, Hudson is referring to following local guidelines for gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic — whether that’s utilizing face coverings or practicing social distancing. But, according to her, it also presents the idea that parents may not be allowed to watch practices or host post-practice team dinners.
“These small compromises can have a big effect in limiting potential exposure if someone later finds out they have the virus,” she wrote in the Washington Post.
If any coach, athlete, or family member tests positive or diagnosed, every team and league must have a plan for what happens next. That includes tracking cases. Teams should be prepared in the event of a positive test to quarantine whoever meets the definition.
“Yelling and breathing heavily while playing sports may change the distances that would qualify as ‘close contact.’ But if people are using face coverings and practicing physical distancing, the implications for other members of the group should be minimal,” Hudson wrote.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, parents should monitor that their children are training safely. After such a long layoff, diving back into the deep end of athletic competition can bring some negatives — mainly injuries. To prevent this, Hudson wrote, parents should encourage kids to focus on conditioning and honing individual skills while gradually introducing more complex movements.
“It will probably take six weeks or more for them to reach their prior fitness levels,” Hudson said.
To read the full article from The Washington Post on advice to parents on having their children resume youth sports, click here.