Returning to Sports After COVID-19
There is no doubt that the U.S. has made a turn in its fight against COVID-19. More than one-quarter of those who live in Illinois have been fully vaccinated. But that does not mean we can let down our guard. The original virus is still out there along with its many mutations. Still, it is time to regain some semblance of normalcy and that includes getting back to sports.
Guidance for Returning to Sports Activities
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests everyone make a game plan before they play. Some ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread include:
- Play outdoors when possible.
- If sport is to take place indoors, utilize as much ventilation as can be found.
- Avoiding close contact with others whenever possible.
- Wearing a mask to cover your mouth and nose.
- Wash or sanitize hands often.
- Clean and disinfect shared equipment.
Guidelines in Illinois & Indiana
The Illinois Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) continually update their guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, this includes the continued use of masks by everyone, unless wearing a mask could pose an injury risk. Further guidelines include appropriate distancing and cleaning of equipment.
Individuals should be aware that sports are divided into three categories by risk factors for exposure. Lower-risk sports include baseball, swimming, gymnastics, and track and field events. Moderate risk sports include moderate contact such as soccer, volleyball, and water polo. Higher risk sports as those with higher contact such as football, basketball, wrestling, and boxing.
Monitoring Everyone’s Health
The DPH provides a long list of minimal guidelines for sporting activities. In summary:
- Routine checkups should be given including temperatures taken, and potential symptoms checked.
- For those over the age of 13, COVID-19 testing should be done before games or competitions, and twice a week for higher risk sports. An exception is given for those fully vaccinated.
Most of us have experienced a year without involvement in sports. While you may have stayed fit by regular exercise at home, it would be best to have a routine physical before resuming your sports activities.
Midwest Express Clinic has a multitude of locations around Chicagoland and over to Indiana for your convenience. We offer sports-related physicals, COVID-19 testing along with full laboratory testing and x-rays, sports-related injury care, and more. Contact us to schedule an appointment for any health concerns. We provide healthcare with heart.