Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

August 2020


Nation's Pediatricians Offer Advice on Return to Youth Sports

Sports activities offer children and teens many physical and psychological health benefits besides fitness, such as socializing with friends, a critical part of development. Many children have missed these activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and re-engaging youth in sports will require careful thought and safety precautions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drawing on the most current research, has published interim guidance to help families weigh the individual benefits and risks of their children's sports activities and ensure that safety precautions in place. It includes suggestions from the CDC's recommendations for youth sports, such as how practices should be conducted, who should wear face coverings and more.

"We recommend that parents talk to their pediatrician about the type of sports and setting, local disease activity and individual circumstances, such as an underlying health condition that places the athlete or family members at high risk," said Susannah M. Briskin, MD FAAP, an author of the guidance. "The risk can be decreased, but not eliminated, by athletes, parents, coaches and officials who follow safety protocols. Ultimately, this will be an individual choice for the parent to decide if they will allow their child to participate in sports."

Current evidence suggests children are infected with the COVID-19 virus less frequently than adults and, when infected, typically experience less severe disease. Although children have generally not been the source of disease outbreaks, it is possible that children could infect adult coaches, officials or family members after contracting the virus.

Sports governing bodies should recommend modifications to practices, competitions and events, the AAP states. This guidance should be consistent with the CDC recommendations and current local government restrictions for youth sports.

"Before returning to sports, all children should have an annual health visit that ideally includes a preparticipation physical evaluation, which most parents know as a sports exam." Briskin said, adding that kids who have not been physically active for a period of time are at a higher risk of an overuse injury.

AAP also recommends that families, coaches and teams:

  • Prioritize non-contact activity such as conditioning and drills where physical distance can be maintained.
  • When physical distancing cannot be maintained, athletes should wear a cloth face covering during non-vigorous exercise. Cloth face coverings should not be worn in water activities or in activities where they could pose an injury risk due to catching on equipment or accidentally impairing vision.
  • Reinforce appropriate hygiene and respiratory etiquette with signage, parent/athlete education and handwashing stations or hand sanitizer.
  • Maintain practice groups in consistent pods of small sizes that do not mix youth athletes to help limit team-wide virus outbreaks.
  • Minimize travel outside to other communities and regions.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on the field, court or play surface at least daily, or between uses as much as possible.
  • Reduce sharing of equipment where possible and use of communal spaces like locker rooms. Athletic areas with poor ventilation such as weight rooms and small spaces where distancing cannot be maintained should be avoided when possible.
  • Athletes should not share food or drink.
  • Athletes who have any COVID-19 symptoms should not attend practices or competition.
  • Patients who have had COVID-19 should see their pediatrician before returning to sports to provide guidance.

"We know that children are suffering without their usual sports activities this summer and would really like to see them regain some of the fun and healthy benefits of athletics and games," Briskin said. "All of us are in this together. By following safety precautions, we can work toward minimizing risk and allowing some return to the sports activities."

Read "COVID-19 Interim Guidance: Return to Sports" here: https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-interim-guidance-return-to-sports/.


Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Congress Fully Funds LWCF With Passage of Great American Outdoors Act - July 2020

AOAP's Aquatics Professional Designation Certified by CMAHC - July 2020

Fitness Participation Up in U.S. - July 2020

KaBOOM! Taskforce Offers Guidance on Playground Reopening - July 2020

Congress Nears Full, Permanent Funding of LWCF - June 2020

More Cities Join Effort to Reimagine Public Spaces - June 2020

CPSC Finds Steady Rise in Fatal Child Drownings - June 2020

NFHS Offers Guidance on Restarting High School Athletics, Activities - June 2020

YMCA, American Camp Association Release Guide to Support Summer Camp Safety - June 2020

NRPA Report Benchmarks Parks & Recreation Agencies - May 2020

CDC Issues Guidance for Aquatic Venues During COVID-19 - May 2020

Fitness Industry Leaders Reach Out to Governors on Safely Reopening - May 2020

Ys Respond to COVID-19 With Food Distribution, Child Care Service - May 2020

NRPA Offers Guidance on Playgrounds During COVID-19 Pandemic - April 2020

$2 Million in Pool Safely Grants Available - April 2020

Health Club Membership Up in 2019, Says IHRSA - April 2020

NRPA Releases Resource for Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans - April 2020

3 Million More Americans Got Active in 2019, Says SFIA - March 2020

TPL Awards 10-Minute Walk Grants - March 2020

Revised VGBA Drain Cover Standard Approved - March 2020

NAYS Offers Free Training on Sudden Cardiac Arrest - March 2020

New CDC Initiative Aims to Boost Activity for Americans - March 2020

NRPA Launches Mentoring in Parks and Rec - February 2020

AOAP Recommends MAHC Adoption - February 2020

ACE Examines Effectiveness of REHIT - February 2020

RTC Shares Progress Toward Completing Great American Rail-Trail - February 2020

18 Cities Earn Grants for Parks - January 2020

USA Swimming Recognizes Top Swimming Clubs - January 2020

Study Finds One-Third of U.S. High Schools Have No Access to Athletic Trainers - January 2020

Philadelphia Kids to Get More Play Options - January 2020

People's Choice Awards Honors Whirligig Park in North Carolina - December 2019

NSF International Adds New Standards for Interactive Water Play - December 2019

ACSM: Wearable Tech, HIIT Are Top Fitness Trends for 2020 - December 2019

TPL Looks to Schoolyards to Improve Park Access - December 2019

Meet Me at the Park Grant Program Reaches More than a Million Kids - November 2019

PHTA Recognizes Achievements in Aquatics - November 2019

Know the Dangers of Unauthorized Entry - November 2019

Survey Says: Americans Love Their Parks - November 2019

NRPA Awards Grants to 10 Communities to Expand Park Access - October 2019

CPSC Awards Pool Safely Grants - October 2019

NCAA Announces AASP Grant Recipients - October 2019

$170.6 Million in LWCF Grants to Support Parks & Outdoor Recreation - October 2019

High School Sports Participation Declines for the First Time in 30 Years - September 2019

TPL Suggests Schoolyards as Park-Access Solution - September 2019

New Study May Change Use of Chlorine Stabilizers in Swimming Pools - September 2019

High School Sports Participation Declines for the First Time in 30 Years - September 2019

City Parks Alliance on Park Funding & Equity - September 2019

Survey Reveals Top Outdoor Recreation Activities - August 2019

Pediatricians Urge Communities to Provide Swim Lessons for All - August 2019

Report: Tennis Participation Remains Consistent - August 2019

Survey: Only Half of Collegiate Sports Programs Follow NCAA Model for Student Medical Care - August 2019