University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

Team Sports Risks Go Well Beyond Injury During the Pandemic

Newswise — When youth sports resume, Southern California parents and coaches will have a new playbook to follow – a game plan on how to keep athletes safe during a pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a lengthy guide for youth sports to incorporate physical distancing and infection control to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The wide-ranging recommendations include advice such as avoiding carpools to sporting events and players refraining from celebratory high-fives.

“There’s always tradeoffs when you follow these recommendations and I think it definitely changes the way that children play sports,” says Annabelle de St. Maurice, MD, MPH, co-chief infection prevention officer for UCLA Health. “However, going forward, seeing as we’re continuing to see an increase in the number of cases, these measures may be recommended for a long time.”

The California Department of Public Health has not yet authorized the return of recreational team sports for kids.

Dr. de St. Maurice, who also serves on the Pac-12’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, said the decision to resume youth sports can be based on factors ranging from chronic conditions to maturity.  

“Families really should consider the risks and benefits of their child participating, and certainly there are benefits from participation in sports,” she says. “It promotes important things like mental health and physical well-being.”

Parents should weigh any health conditions for their children or members of the household that would put them at greater risk of developing a serious illness, Dr. de St. Maurice says. Those include diabetes, chronic heart or lung disease and obesity.  

Age is also a consideration. “Certainly older kids might be better able to follow these rules and follow directions, whereas younger children might need a little more guidance to follow and more support.”

While children generally have lower rates of COVID-19, some sports better lend themselves to physical distancing and less contact with other people. Outdoor sports are probably safer than those played indoors.

The CDC says shared objects, such as balls or gymnastics equipment, should be cleaned after use by each participant, if possible.

“It’s easier in some sports as opposed to others,” Dr. de St. Maurice says. “Basketball, obviously, you can’t clean it every time you pass the ball. In baseball, you could disinfect bats in between players. That’s one of the challenges with sports and that’s why some sports may be higher risk and some sports may be lower risk.”

Individual sports, such as swimming and running, would be considered low-risk, Dr. de St. Maurice says.

Another big change for youth sports is the recommendation to eliminate non-essential volunteers and spectators. The CDC also says face coverings should be worn by coaches, officials, parents and spectators as much as possible.

Travel teams should consider only competing against local teams, Dr. de St. Maurice says.  

“If you’re in an area with high risk and going into an area with low risk, that could potentially introduce the virus into areas that are recovering,” she says. “The opposite is true, too, if you go from a low-risk area to a high-risk area and introduce the virus to your community.”

For youth who do play, she said the habits they develop on their teams could help them for the upcoming school year, such as staying home even with only mild symptoms of illness, cleaning hands properly and disinfecting shared objects.

“I think some of the key points are looking at behaviors that reduce spread. These are behaviors children can learn while they’re playing sports, but also if we have in-person school in the fall,” she says.

The CDC has a list of frequently asked questions about youth sports that could be of help for parents.

College Ball

Plans for college sports are still being worked out, as schools across the U.S. have reported positive cases among football players arriving to training camp.

Dr. de St. Maurice said the Pac-12 task force is looking at how to minimize the risk for athletes, if there’s a season for fall sports including soccer, volleyball and football.

“We’re looking at risk of different sports, an algorithm for testing, contact tracing, isolation, as well as infection control practices to address the risks,” she says. “We want to make sure that people who have symptoms are excluded from playing so they don’t spread disease to others.”

The status for fans is also up in the airalthough Dr. de St. Maurice is not optimistic.

“The more people you have present and the closer those people are to each other, the more the risk of transmission increases,” she says.

Recreational Play

For adults looking for recreation, Dr. de St. Maurice says to follow their county’s guidance and to avoid playing with groups outside the home. For instance, Los Angeles County has reopened golf courses and tennis courts but not beach volleyball courts.

“I think kicking around a soccer ball with members of your household or throwing a baseball is low risk,” she says.

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 3409
Newswise: Last-resort life support option helped majority of critically ill COVID-19 patients survive, global study shows
24-Sep-2020 3:20 PM EDT
Last-resort life support option helped majority of critically ill COVID-19 patients survive, global study shows
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

It saved lives in past epidemics of lung-damaging viruses. Now, the life-support option known as ECMO appears to be doing the same for many of the critically ill COVID-19 patients who receive it. Patients in a new international study faced a staggeringly high risk of death, as ventilators failed to support their lungs. But after they were placed on ECMO, their actual death rate was less than 40%.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 5:05 PM EDT
Case Western Reserve University researchers to examine how COVID-19 ravaged America’s nursing homes
Case Western Reserve University

Within a few months, federal officials reported that one of every five nursing homes had experienced a death from the novel coronavirus. Not long after, several media outlets published independent analysis finding that an estimated 40% of the fatalities related to COVID-19 took place in nursing homes. Rather than surrender to the terrifying trend, Case Western Reserve researchers saw an opportunity to help.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 4:15 PM EDT
Faced with pandemic shortages, researchers combine heat and humidity to disinfect N95 masks for reuse
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

They found that gently heating N95 masks in high relative humidity could inactivate SARS-CoV-2 virus trapped within the masks, without degrading the masks’ performance.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 3:30 PM EDT
Team assessing if dual-antibody injection prevents COVID-19 illness
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A combination antibody treatment for preventing COVID-19 illness in individuals who have had sustained exposure to someone with the virus is being studied by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The clinical trial is enrolling patients at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 2:30 PM EDT
Yes, Wisconsin Republicans have the power to overturn the extended mask mandate order by Governor Evers

Republicans have the legal power to reverse the order by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers that extends the mask mandate.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 1:55 PM EDT
How do Americans view the virus? Anthropology professor examines attitudes of COVID
Northern Arizona University

In her ongoing research about Americans' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Arizona University anthropology professor Lisa Hardy and her collaborators have talked to dozens of people.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 12:55 PM EDT
During pandemic, racism puts additional stress on Asian Americans
Massachusetts General Hospital

Many people are feeling anxious during these uncertain times as they navigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and experience the tension from physical distancing or isolation for what can seem like an eternity.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 12:55 PM EDT
COVID-19 shapes political approval ratings
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Approval ratings of political leaders surged in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 12:40 PM EDT
ASU Researchers Receive $6m State Contract to Develop Rapid, 20-Minute Covid-19 Saliva Test
Arizona State University (ASU)

As the world manages through the coronavirus pandemic, Arizona State University continues its work to discover and develop easier and more widespread COVID-19 testing to assist in managing the virus.

Released: 25-Sep-2020 11:55 AM EDT
Scholars untangle marketing's complex role in understanding political activities
American Marketing Association (AMA)

As 2020 began, many pundits predicted a politically charged year, but few predicted that it would include a global pandemic overtaxing healthcare resources, strained U.S. race relations resulting in mass demonstrations across the globe, devastating fires consuming massive swaths of the United States, and a catastrophic global economic downturn.

Showing results

110 of 3409