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Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist

Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist Youth Sports Participation During COVID-19: A Safety Checklist

​​​​​​​If your child is participating in sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, remember these steps to help keep players, coaches and families safe

Before the sports season starts:


​Check to make sure sports and recreation activities are approved by your local and state government.


​Understand the new safety rules and expectations for participation during COVID-19 and talk about them with your child.


​Each child should have their own cloth face covering, hand sanitizer, towel, water bottle, and tissues labeled with their names.


​All youth athletes should have an up-to-date sports physical before participating.​

Prior to practice or ga​mes:

​​​☐​ ​​

​​​Athletes ​should stay home from practice or game if they're feeling sick or have a fever.


Wash hands​ before arriving, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available.


​Bring labeled (with name) personal sports equipment, water bottle, towel, tissues, hand sanitizer, and cloth face covering.


​Stay in the car or assigned school location until the coach is ready to start practice


​Avoid gathering in groups before practice, maintain social distance and wear a cloth face covering.​

​ If an athlete has COVID-19:


​Anyone who has a history of COVID-19 should get their doctor's permission before they return to ​exercise or sports.

​​A child who has had a positive t​est for COVID-19 should have a gradual return to physical activity.​

Before returning to activity, children should be screened by their doctor for heart symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, or fainting.​

Anyone without symptoms ​requires a minimum 2-week resting period without exercise or competition.​​

An athlete with symptoms should not exercise or compete for at least 2 to 4 weeks.

A child with a positive heart screening may need an EKG​.

Children who were very sick from COVID-19 must be treated as though they have an inflamed heart muscle (myocarditis) and not exercise or compete for 3 to 6 months. A pediatric cardiologist should examine these children before they are allowed to return to exercise or competition.

During sports practice or games:


​Whenever possible, athletes should maintain 6-8 feet of physical distance during drills and conditioning.​


​When possible and safe, athletes should each wear cloth face covering--especially on the sideline, in dugouts, and during team chats. However, masks should not be worn during:

  • ​​activ​​e exercise.​​

  • ​​water sports.

  • sports where face coverings could get caught on equipment or accidentally cover eyes.

​Avoid these behaviors:

  • ​Huddles, high-fives, fist bumps, handshakes, etc.

  • Sharing food or drink with teammates.

  • Cheering, chanting, or singing when ​​closer than 6-8 feet from others.

  • Spitting or blowing nose without a tissue.​


​Store personal equipment 6-8 feet away from other teammates' equipment.


​Minimize sharing sports equipment when possible.​


​Sanitize hands before and after using shared equipment such as balls, bats and sticks.​


​​Tell a coach if you are not feeling well and leave practice or game with parent or caregiver.

After sports practice or games:


​Sanitize or wash hands.​​


​Wash cloth face coverings, towel and practices clothes or uniform.​


​Clean personal sports equipment and water bottle.


Talk with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions about youth sports participation safety based on COVID-19 in your community and your child's health.  

More Information

Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics, this information was developed jointly by:​


Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (Copyright © 2020)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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