Returning to Youth Sports Safely During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Emily Kumlien
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UW Health COVID-19 Resources


Youth Sports Guidelines

Understanding and Interpreting the CDC Guidelines for Youth Sports (pdf)

Madison, Wisconsin - As the restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic begin to ease in our communities this summer, many of the activities we enjoyed prior to the pandemic are now looking markedly different, and participation in youth sports is certainly no exception. Parents and young athletes alike have a lot of questions about when and how kids can safely return to their sports of choice, and medical experts say the answer can be found in understanding, accepting and respecting a new normal going forward.


“It’s crucial for parents and kids alike to set new and realistic expectations as sports resume this summer and continue into the fall and beyond,” says Dr. Alison Brooks, UW Health pediatrician and sports medicine expert. “Whether you are a participant, a coach, or a spectator, it’s important to recognize that all sports will likely look and feel very different from what we’ve been used to in the past and that each sport will require unique considerations, modifications and accommodations.”


Some new expectations around sports will likely include:

  • A possibility that competition will be extremely limited or eliminated altogether.
  • Changes in the way athletes practice or train for their sport
  • Physical distancing will be necessary for both participants and spectators.
  • Sports activities will look different based on the ages and stages of the athletes.
  • Additional time will be necessary for athletes to progressively get back into shape so they can safely return to practice, competition and to prevent injuries.

Additionally, a team of sports medicine and infection prevention experts at UW Health and Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee developed some guidelines and considerations endorsed by the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to help navigate the return to youth sports in Wisconsin. UW Health and Children’s Wisconsin also support following Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control guidance to safely protect kids and our community from the spread and unknown risks of COVID-19.


Watch: Dr. Alison Brooks Talks About Why Sports May Look a Little Different 



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Date Published: 06/08/2020

News tag(s):  sportssports medicinecoronavirusdaily update

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