Playing Spring Sports While Social Distancing — How to Have Fun AND Stay Injury-Free

 

Competitive and recreational sports are starting to return after a long COVID-prompted break. Athletes are eager to hit the field, but even in outdoor environments, some element of risk remains. Still, it’s possible to get involved in spring sports without compromising your health, as we explain below:

Avoid Locker Rooms

So far, evidence suggests that limited spread occurs during actual athletic events. The bigger problem? Indoor settings such as restrooms and locker rooms, where athletes are more likely to be in close contact — often without masks. While changing prior to and after events may seem inconvenient, it’s the best policy for now.

Take it Easy

Mask-wearing remains a requirement for most sports, and, while this is essential for limiting the spread of the virus, it makes even modest activities far more intense. Pay close attention to your level of exertion and don’t be afraid to back off for a bit if you start to feel winded or fatigued. Don’t forget essentials such as warming up, stretching, and staying hydrated — these matter more than ever.

Limit Group Size

The fewer people on your team, the less likely the virus is to spread. If you’re not willing to cut participants, consider placing members in pods and staggering practices to minimize contact. Scrimmages with members of your team are safer than facing off against other squads — and competing locally is far safer than traveling.

Be Creative

If your activity is primarily recreational, brainstorm alternative approaches that make it easier to remain distant. For example, play flag football instead of tackle or touch. Likewise, some basketball teams have made modifications such as removing jump balls and other situations that prompt close contact.