Sports are more than just activities to a lot of people in the US. According to one survey, 64 percent of the population are sports fans. Approximately 24 percent of these fans can be described as avid fans. For these people, sports aren’t just a diversion. They’re a way of life.
However, the current pandemic has made it necessary for sports authorities to make a lot of changes in the way they run their events and mange their teams. Despite a lot of precautions, a high number of athletes and sporting personnel have contracted the virus. Does this mean you won’t be able to enjoy your favorite sports?
That depends on the type of sport and what kind of precautions you can take to ensure you can be safe. The following are some basic guidelines you can keep in mind if you want to get back into your favorite sports.
On the Sport
A lot depends on the nature of the sport you want to engage in. Because COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted through respiration of infected fluid, close-contact sports like football, wrestling, and boxing are very risky. Other sports make it easier to maintain social distancing and mask wearing. For example, skiing doesn’t involve pressing close to each other and you can easily wear a face mask along with your Bogner ski wear.
If you plan on engaging in a close-contact sport, the best way to ensure the well-being of others is to have everyone who will participate be tested and self-isolate for two weeks prior to the event. This will reveal if anyone has contracted the virus and prevent them from exposing anyone during the event. Although monitoring prior to the event should always be important, it’s even more needed if the participants will be coming from and returning to different locations.
Once again, the nature of the sport dictate what sort of safety guidelines you can implement on the venue. For example, if you want to indulge your swimming skills, the Centers for Disease Control have a section dedicated specifically for safety tips around pools. But general guidelines for keeping your sporting venue less risky include cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched areas like door handles, handrails and armrests.
You should also ensure that the venue’s furnishing encourages physical distancing. Arrange the seats to ensure maximum safe distance between them and mark benches with maximum occupancies to ensure people sitting on them are adequately spaced. Insist that all personnel and athlete wear masks whenever feasible. If you can continue wearing a mask while engaging in your sport, do so.
Finally, provide adequate supplies of hand sanitizers near heavy traffic areas and handwashing soap in the restrooms to minimize contact.
Prior to the pandemic, it’s common practice for athletes to share equipment, especially if you’re just a casual player. However, given that people touch their face up to 16 times an hour and that this can transfer liquids to anything else you touch, this is less than ideal for keeping a safe and sanitary sporting event.
Do not share your equipment with other players or people and encourage others to follow suit. Whether it’s clothes, an Easton baseball bat or even a basketball, it’s much better for everyone to stick with their own equipment. In case you lose vital accessories, bring at least one spare of everything so you don’t have to share with anyone and risk contagion. If you must share equipment, ensure that you clean them thoroughly and disinfect them properly before you hand them over and to do so again when you retrieve them.
A lot of team sports requires careful coordination between each member to successfully implement strategies and tactics on the field. This makes it hard to train and still maintain necessary measures, such as physical distancing. However, your individual training goals can be met while staying at home and reducing your risk.
For example, earlier this year, a lot of Major League Baseball players continued their workout regimens at home. Some even built their own pitching or batting areas to provide a more complete training set up. Depending on your sport, it may be difficult to recreate the exact conditions you need. Unless you already have a pool or live on the Alps, it may be impossible to train properly for swimming or skiing. However, try to train at home as much as you can to decrease the risk to your health.
Sports aren’t just games. They’re a way of life and a path to your ideal self in some cases. Balance your love for your chosen sport with common sense and obey guidelines to ensure you can enjoy them while being safe.