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
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About Sports Medicine
Sports and physical activity bring with them a potential for injury. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury – or improve athletic performance – UPMC Sports Medicine and the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program can help. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our experts partner with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers, and about 100 other high school, college, and regional teams and events throughout Pennsylvania – working daily to build better athletes.