DETROIT – Will it be safe for children, high schoolers or anybody to play sports amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Experts have divided 25 popular sports into three categories: high, moderate and low risk.
Experts are analyzing the relative risks of various sports as athletes prepare to get back on the field.
The National Federation of State High School Associations released their list, which is based on the amount of close, sustained contact, along with other factors.
Here’s how 25 sports were categorized:
- Boys lacrosse
- Competitive cheer
- Field hockey
- Girls lacrosse
- Ice hockey
- Swimming relays
- Track -- certain events (high jump)
- 7 on 7 football
- Cross country (with staggered starts)
- Running -- individual events
- Sideline cheer
- Swimming -- individual events
- Track -- certain events (shot put)
States weighing options
High school football players in Alabama have to pass a temperature check before stepping onto the practice field.
“I’m ready,” linebacker Calvin Wilbanks said. “I think we’re all ready. We were kind of ready to get out here and ready to practice with our team.”
According to the Alabama High School Athletic Association, players within six feet of each other have to wear masks, but the players said they’re used to it.
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“We have to do this everywhere now, so, I mean, out here on the field is the same as it is anywhere,” Wilbanks said.
Weightlifting is being done outside, and equipment is being cleaned between players.
Water fountains are replaced by individual water bottles.
Mandatory summer practices are prohibited, as are team camps and summer competition, for now.
The best ways to tackle the COVID-19 risks will vary by sport.
There’s variation across the country regarding if, when and how to allow students to resume playing school sports.
Oklahoma recently rejected a plan that would have required social distancing and allowed all high school sports to resume without restrictions.
One idea being considered by many states would change the calendar to shift lower risk sports to fall and move higher risk ones to the spring.