Keeping Your Kids Safe in Sports

2020-21 Athletic Training Team for The Center FoundationSchools are resuming in-person sports activities, and our athletic trainers are excited to get back to work protecting young athletes. However, we know that there are concerns about COVID-19. As a parent, it’s natural to be anxious about the safety of your child. For this reason, we want you to know that our team is committed to keeping your kids safe and healthy.

Keep reading to learn how we are working together to protect your child from exposure to COVID-19.

Oregon Health Authority & Oregon School Activities Association

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Sports Activities Association (OSAA) offer a framework of required policies for all schools wishing to participate in athletic events during this time. In fact, the Oregon Health Authority recognizes that “Participation in physical activity is vital to the health and well-being of young people.” Therefore, we fully support these policies to steer safe sports participation. You can find more information about the specific policies here at OHA COVID Policies and OSAA Coronavirus.

How we are Keeping Your Kids Safe

Over the summer months, our athletic trainers and the school districts of Bend-La Pine, Sisters, Crook County, and Jefferson County collaborated to develop policies and procedures to ensure safe sports participation. In addition, we are working closely with the local school districts to ensure that we follow all health and safety initiatives.

Our athletic trainers are adopting the following measures keep your kids safe.

  • Face masks worn at all times by athletic trainers and students while giving or receiving treatment.
  • Hands washed/sanitized between every interaction with students.
  • Tables, counters, and equipment disinfected before and after every use.
  • All athlete interactions/encounters carefully logged to aid in contact tracing in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 among student athletes.
  • Educate parents, coaches, and student athletes on the importance of following health and safety policies, the risks associated with sports participation during COVID-19, and strategies to minimize those risks.

In addition, our athletic trainers will be working with schools to identify and quickly respond to positive cases and possible exposures. This will help minimize the spread of the disease. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and avoid another shutdown of sports and schools.

How You Can Help

Despite all of these necessary measures, there is still risk associated with returning to in-person sports. Admittedly, there is no way to remove risk entirely, other than abstaining from sports altogether. However, as parents there are a few things your child can do to help protect themselves, your family, and others.

  • Stay home if sick. This cannot be overstated. In fact, it is true for any symptoms of illness, but especially important if your child has
    • symptoms of COVID-19,
    • been diagnosed,
    • is waiting for test results,
    • or been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Maintain social distancing. This means your child should stay at least 6 feet from other players whenever possible.
  • Wear a face mask. Yes, even while exercising. If you missed it, read our previous blog about exercising while wearing a facemask for some helpful tips.
  • Bring your own water bottle. Instruct your child to bring a personal water bottle. Remind them not to share it or to drink from other people’s water bottles.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water regularly.
  • Practice good hygiene. Remind your child to avoid touching mouth, nose, or eyes with their hands. In addition, avoid spitting, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow. And, always remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards after a sneeze or cough.
  • Don’t share equipment. While this is not always possible, your child should try to minimize sharing of equipment such as helmets, gloves, and bats.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Together

We know how important physical activity and sports participation is for the health and happiness of kids. Therefore, remember that we are all in this together and follow the above precautions. Help us ensure that your kids continue to play the sports they love. By working together, we reduce the risk of illness and speed up a return to normal life.

Below are some additional resources and references to help you as your children go back to playing sports during the pandemic.

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.

References/Resources:
Considerations for Youth Sports – CDC
Understanding Risk Related to COVID-19 and Youth Sports
Safety Checklist For Sports Participation During COVID-19
Cloth Face Coverings in Youth Sport
Playing Sports –COVID 19 CDC