Disclaimer: At UPMC HealthBeat, we strive to provide the most up-to-date facts in our stories when we publish them. We also make updates to our content as information changes. However, education about COVID-19 can shift quickly based on new data, emerging variants, or other factors. The information in this story was accurate as of its publish date. We also encourage you to visit other reliable websites for updated information, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and your state and local governments.
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?
“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.
Please place each source on it's own line, using the following HTML markup:
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
An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.