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Lead Pediatricians Weigh in on Just How Safe Kids' Sports Can Be During the Pandemic

From figuring out how to optimize remote learning to determining what playdates look like these days, parents are navigating a bevy of pandemic-fueled challenges. With back-to-school season swiftly approaching, another question on many families' minds is whether the return to the classroom (albeit virtually) should go hand-in-hand with a return to sports.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released interim guidance on the matter in an effort to help parents weigh the individual benefits and risks of their children's sports activities and ensure that safety precautions are in place.

What the AAP Advises Parents

The AAP points out that children and teens benefit from sports not only physically but also psychologically. These activities provide kids with opportunities to socialize with friends, a critical part of development. Still, re-engaging youth in sports will require careful thought and safety precautions, noted the organization in a July 23 press release.

Susannah M. Briskin, MD FAAP, an author of the guidelines, stated that parents should talk to their pediatrician about the type of sport and setting, local disease activity, and individual circumstances, such as an underlying health condition that places the athlete or family members at high risk.

"The risk can be decreased, but not eliminated, by athletes, parents, coaches, and officials who follow safety protocols," explained Dr. Briskin in a press release. "Ultimately, this will be an individual choice for the parent to decide if they will allow their child to participate in sports."

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