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Summer Sports: Are They Safe In The Pandemic?

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As temperatures rise and days get longer, many of us are getting outside more and more to exercise or to simply enjoy the pleasant weather.

One way millions of Americans of all ages spend their summer days is by participating in sports like soccer, basketball, ultimate frisbee, and many more. Most of these activities will involve getting physically close to people from different households, so what’s the smartest way to approach those situations given the ongoing concern about the COVID-19 pandemic?

Here’s the latest guidance:

Summer Sports And COVID-19

Though well over 100 million Americans have been vaccinated from COVID-19 as of May 2021, there remain questions about how safe it is to return to normal activities in shared spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently advised that masks are not necessary for fully vaccinated people when they’re outdoors or gathered indoors with other fully vaccinated people. The new guidance also suggests that outdoor visits and activities are, in general, safer than indoor activities.

The good news for recreational sports leagues is that the majority of them are conducted outdoors during the summer.

Here’s what the CDC recommends for those types of events:

  • Bring your own equipment, like gloves, headgear, helmets, water bottles, and bats
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other players when possible
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others
  • Clean or sanitize your hands before and after practices, games, and sharing equipment
  • Tell a coach or staff member if you don’t feel well

Fully vaccinated adults should be able to participate in group sports without much risk, but it’s important to have an open dialogue on your team so people can feel comfortable sharing if they aren’t feeling well.

For kids’ sports, many of the participants are currently too young to receive the vaccine.

Here are a few of the factors listed by the CDC that you can consider when deciding if your child should participate:

  • Community levels of COVID-19
  • Physical closeness of players
  • Level of intensity of activity/amount of heavy breathing
  • Length of time that players are close to each other or to staff
  • Setting of the sporting event or activity. Indoor activities pose more risk than outdoor activities
  • Amount of necessary touching of shared equipment and gear (e.g., protective gear, balls, bats, racquets, mats, or water bottles)
  • Size of the team
  • Nonessential visitors, spectators, volunteers

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