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COVID-19 Return to Youth Sports Guidelines

The following recommendations are based on a collaborative effort by experts in childhood sports medicine from representative regions around the United States. Keep in mind that some recommendations may vary by geographic region, and are subject to change on a regular basis. As our understanding of the disease evolves, our recommendations may evolve as well - so check back periodically.

Symptomatic Recommendations

All athletes should confirm the absence of any of the following COVID-19 related symptoms before participation in sports: fever, cough, shaking, chills, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, discoloration of the fingers or toes, pain in the extremities.

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not be allowed to return to sports for at least 14 days, including at least 7 days without symptoms. Written medical clearance is recommended prior to return to play.

A medical evaluation should be considered for those with close contacts who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as for those with risk factors such as asthma, diabetes, cardiac disease, or a compromised immune system.

Cardiopulmonary complications of COVID-19 may present up to 6-8 weeks or more post-infection and can be associated with the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; chest pain, pressure or tightness; palpitations, racing heart; dizziness, passing out or seizure.
  • The presence of any of these symptoms and a previous history of known or potential COVID-19 illness warrants a thorough cardiopulmonary evaluation.

Screening Recommendations

We recommend symptom screening at least weekly via a convenient phone app or online platform accessible by coaches and parents, acknowledging symptom screening alone is not sufficient to mitigate infection and must be combined with other risk reduction strategies.

It is important to acknowledge the potential effect of peer pressure and negative social implications for children who report symptoms or have COVID-19, and we emphasize the need to develop and reinforce a culture that prioritizes the health of teammates and family members above sport.

Risk reduction

Risk reduction tactics should include:

  • Physical distancing >6 feet when possible
  • Face mask use while on sidelines or not actively participating
  • Hand hygiene
  • No sharing of water bottles or equipment
  • Regular sanitation of facilities and equipment
  • Training in smaller groups
  • Limiting travel for competition
  • Parent decision making

Ultimately, parents should be empowered to make decisions that are right for their children and family. Considerations for parents enrolling their children in youth sports should include:

  • Their own child's risk of illness as well as the risk to other household members
  • The type of sport and level of close physical interaction required
  • Opportunities to physically distance during training
  • The use of shared equipment, size of team, league rules and regulations, and travel requirements

Created by COVID & Youth Sports Taskforce

Additional information and resources can be found here.