Youth sports during COVID-19: What parents need to know and do

by Fitcoachion | Last Updated: July 24, 2020

It’s become clear that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to end anytime soon. This means that we are going to have to figure out how to live, and raise our children, when seemingly every action we take carries some risk.

Youth sports can bring great benefits to children. Team sports offer opportunities for exercise, which is crucial for health, and also for socialization and learning how to be part of a community. Children need these opportunities, which are particularly lacking during the pandemic. It would be great if we could find a way for children to engage in sports during the pandemic. But as with every trip to the store or even the mailbox, there are risks involved.

To help parents understand and navigate these risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released some information and considerations about youth sports during COVID-19.

First, which sport?

The first thing for parents to think about is the sport itself. Some sports are just more risky than others. Questions to consider include:

Other considerations when thinking about a sport or team include:

Lowering risk, but not erasing it

The only way to have zero risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 from youth sports is not to play them. Some families will likely end up making that choice, such as families with vulnerable children or other vulnerable people living with them, or families whose living or work situations put them at ongoing risk of catching the illness, which could end up spreading it to the team. For these families, it will be just one of the many difficult and sad decisions they have to make during this crisis.

For those who decide to give it a try, after thinking carefully about the sport and team, there are ways to decrease risk. They include:

Finally, as much as players and spectators may want to shout encouragement, it’s best to keep quiet, as shouting can propel the virus further.

Team sports won’t be the same, of course — and for many children and families this will be very disappointing. But if we can find a way to do something, to be active and be together, it could help us get through this extraordinary, scary, terrible time.

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