Young athletes are ready to get back to sports after missing out because of the
pandemic. But many parents wonder if it's safe.
Here's what to know when deciding if returning to sports is right for your child.
Is Your Child (or Household Member) at Risk for Coronavirus?
Some people are more likely to get very sick from coronavirus. This includes adults
age 65 or older and people with health problems, such as asthma,
or a weak immune system.
Babies younger than 12 months old might get sicker from coronavirus than older kids.
If your child has a health problem, or lives with someone in a high-risk group,
talk to your doctor about whether it's safe for your child to return to sports. Kids
at high risk may need to do individual activities or at-home training.
Is it Safe to Play in Your Area?
Before signing up for teams and recreational leagues, be sure that local and state
governments are allowing kids to play organized sports.
Consider how many COVID cases are in your area. If cases are sharply rising, it
might not be safe for kids to play sports. In areas with few cases, returning to sports
may be reasonable.
To find out if cases in your area are increasing, decreasing, or staying steady,
call your local health department or visit their website. You also can check your
local newspaper. Many news outlets regularly report this information by area or zip
What Do Health Experts Say About Playing Sports During the Pandemic?
Playing sports provides many benefits. Getting fit, increasing strength, and improving
heart health and mental health are just some of them.
regular cleaning of shared equipment and facilities
Kids are less likely to catch and spread the virus than adults. But longer, closer
contact with an infected person increases their risk, as can the sport they play and
the setting. Things to consider include:
number of players. Smaller groups are better than large teams.
an indoor versus outdoor setting. It's safer to hold activities
the size of an indoor facility and its ventilation. Good airflow
can lower the chances of infection.
whether facilities are shared. Facilities and equipment should
be cleaned between uses.
travel outside of the community. Traveling may increase the chances
of spreading the virus.
What Else Should I Know?
Deciding whether to let your child play sports now is a personal choice that involves
many things, such as the benefits that sports provide and your family's health and
safety. Talk to your doctor if you have questions. You also can check the CDC's
website for information on returning to sports safely.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change, stay flexible. Decisions you make
now might not be the best choice later in the year.