UPMC's Return to Sports Playbook?

The COVID-19 pandemic put sports leagues on hold across the United States.

As states begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions, many sports organizations — youth, high school, and collegiate — are preparing for a return to play. As they do so, it’s important to keep all players, coaches, officials, workers, and fans safe.

To provide guidelines to keep sports safe from COVID-19 spread, a team of UPMC experts created the Return to Sports Playbook. The playbook includes recommendations on how sports leagues can maintain safety as they get ready to begin competition.

The UPMC team that created the playbook included experts from:

  • UPMC Sports Medicine
  • UPMC Orthopaedic Care
  • The UPMC Center for Care of Infectious Diseases
  • The UPMC Wolff Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation

“We started as a team developing a plan,” says Jeanne Doperak, DO, a primary care physician at UPMC Sports Medicine. “We were able to come up with what we feel like are some inclusive guidelines to help the community take the next step to getting back to sports.”

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What’s in the UPMC Return to Sports Playbook?

UPMC’s team developed three separate playbooks: for youth sports, for high school sports, and for collegiate sports.

“The youth playbook is meant for youth sports, travel teams, community rec leagues, and even has sections on tournaments, competition, and practice, which obviously at the youth level looks a lot different than high school,” Dr. Doperak says. “So we’ve written a specific set of guidelines for high school and collegiate athletes, which each step of the way looks a little different.”

The playbooks contain guidelines for safety for athletes, coaches, staff, parents, and all others who may attend practices and competitions.

Topics covered include:

  • Pre-participation physicals
  • Facemasks and other personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Social distancing guidelines for players, coaches, and observers
  • Sanitation guidelines
  • COVID-19 symptom screening
  • What to do if someone falls ill

Although the UPMC Return to Sports Playbook provides guidelines for COVID-19 safety, we cannot guarantee injury or illness will be prevented. Please practice caution at all times.

Our recommendations also may change as we continue to learn more about COVID-19. Follow UPMC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Pennsylvania Department of Health for COVID-19 updates.

For more information on the Return to Sports Playbook, visit UPMC.com. If you have questions, contact ReturnToSports@upmc.edu.

Sources

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For Journals and Media sources:National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. Enterovirus D68. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Link

For News sources:Dr. Amesh Adalja. A Back to School Victim-Finding Spree for Enterovirus 68. Tracking Zebra. Link

About Sports Medicine

Sports bring with them a potential for injury. And if you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. We serve athletes from a wide variety of sports across every demographic: young or old, male or female, pro or amateur. We partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and over 60 high school, college, and regional teams and events. We’re working to build better athletes. We use cutting-edge rehabilitation techniques to help you recover and provide education on how to prevent injuries.