12:24 PM

Young Athletes and COVID-19: 'When Can My Child Start Playing Sports Again?

As much as anything I’m missing this spring and summer, watching my kids play the sports they love is probably near the top. Sports can teach us so much about life and seeing our kids work hard on something and succeed is one of my favorite parts of being a dad.

So, when can we get back to sports?

Like most else things related to COVID-19, it depends.

There are definitely different levels of risk, depending on the child’s sport.

  • Low risk - Home training
  • Moderate risk - Small group training
  • Higher risk - Team training in low contact sports
  • Highest risk - Team training with high contact

Even with these categories, deciding where your child’s sport fits might not always be clear. Cheer can easily be done as a small group but stunts require higher levels of contact. Baseball players can be spread out but baseballs are shared between players.

So, when should you start to get your child more active?

Now. If and when it can be done safely.

Here’s how to keep your child safe:

  1. Encourage your child to practice general and sport specific activities daily at home. Conditioning will be an issue as we get back going so the more activity they have now the better.
  2. Use small group training exercises where possible. Does the whole team need to practice three times per week or can shorter episodes with small groups be arranged?
  3. Ensure that your coach and facility are maximizing social distancing and disinfecting procedures. Practices should be modified to minimize interaction. Waiting should be done in a social distanced manner.
  4. General infection control measures should be stressed: wear masks when appropriate, cover cough and sneezes, find other celebrations than high fives and players/coaches should stay home if ill.
  5. Travel should be limited as much as possible. Keeping practices and games local helps to minimize spread between communities.

Is it OK to get your kids back to their sports? Yes, but do so with caution and care.

For more detailed information on this topic, visit the CDC.

Get to know Justin Smith, M.D.

Justin Smith, M.D., is a pediatrician in Trophy Club  and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Smith is an experienced keynote speaker for a variety of topics including pediatric/parenting topics, healthcare social media and physician leadership. If you are interested in having Dr. Smith present to your conference or meeting, please contact him at thedocsmitty@cookchildrens.org.

He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” open now. Click to learn more. To make an appointment, call 817-347-8100.