Things to Consider When Contact Sports Are Opened Back to the Public

By: Matthew Du
Things to Consider When Contact Sports Are Opened Back to the Public

Every athlete, coach, and sporting commission has felt the impact of COVID-19. It goes without saying that when the world’s economy and borders closed off, competitive events and sporting seasons from all sporting levels were canceled and training facilities were closed. Athletes, coaches, parents, and stakeholders had to scramble to create ways to remain relevant. Media sources were focusing on the Coronavirus pandemic and sporting leagues were running out of money.

That is until governments opened up and allowed contact sports to resume once again.

In this article, we go over the reopening of contact sports, some considerations we should have (especially for youth sports), and some ways to prepare for the return of sports season. Let’s get right into it.

Rugby Sport

What Are Contact Sports?

We wanted to ensure that you understand exactly the type of sports that we talk about here. By simple definition, contact sports are sports that emphasize or require physical contact between players. The act of touching another player is either a direct or indirect characteristic of scoring. This means that some sports, such as mixed martial arts, are scored when a player hits another. Other sports, such as rugby, football, and soccer, require the members of your team to tackle others in order to make it easier for another particular player to score. Sports like football, rugby, and soccer are what we’d call full-contact sport, as the sport cannot be undertaken without contact – while other sports may have contact but also have such events that consider themselves illegal under the rules of the game.

In stark contrast to these contact sports, we also have non-contact sports. These are the sports where the participants would have no possible means of touching one another unless done very intentionally. Examples of these sports include sprinting, swimming, and darts.

Your preference for each sport will actually depend heavily on you and your personality. But as we return contact sports to the previous state that they once had – that is to say, functioning- we explore some considerations. It’s also important to take into account the availability of facilities near you. If, for example, you live in Crown Asia, which has a house and lot for sale, you can take advantage of open fields to train at.

Considerations for Youth Sports

The CDC has actually offered the following considerations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While each community may need to make adjustments to meet its unique needs and circumstances, it’s important to note that the following considerations are meant to supplement- not replace – any state, local, or territorial health and safety laws:

Community Levels of COVID-19

In cases where there is a high or increasing level of COVID-19 cases within the local community, this would be indicative of an increased risk of infection and spread among athletes, coaches, and spectators. Should contact sports be reintroduced and opened up, administrators and authority figures should consider the number of cases in the area.

Physical Closeness of Players

The level of contact that participants will engage in will vary depending on the sport. Non-contact sports will definitely be an easier sell to the local community while sports that require contact or close proximity between players will obviously make it more difficult to maintain physical distancing.

As we look at the rules and regulations that these close-contact sports, community members may be able to modify the rules of the game to safely increase the distance between players. They could also modify training programs. For example, players and coaches would be able to focus on individual skill-building rather than competition. If utterly required, coaches might also want their team members to work in small groups and in different stations, rather than switching groups or mixing groups. While this will definitely take more strategic planning from the side of the coach, the protection that it brings to players is an amazing benefit.

Level of Intensity of Activity

There are more activities that are suitable for indoor environments rather than outdoors. The activities, for example, that require high intensity or a high level of exertion such as full-on competition or body-on-body contact present a higher level of risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 than lower-intensity activities, such as discussing strategy and rules. In scenarios where you will need to come into contact with other players, these will be best done outdoors.

Length of Time That Players Are Close to Each Other or to Staff

Another consideration to take into account is the length of time that players are close to each other or to staff, whether on the field or on the bench. Activities that last longer quite simply pose more risk than shorter activities. If, for example, you stand within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, you have a greatly increased chance of contracting the virus and requiring quarantine.

Where possible, it would be in all interested parties’ best interest to limit the time players spend in close contact to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. You might want to change up some guidelines such that you’re not allowed to go full contact unless it’s a real game situation or simply limit the number of matches you play in a season.

Setting of the Sporting Event or Activity

The setting is also another important factor to take into account. Depending on the alert level of your community, you might want to make sure that you minimize the time spent indoors. When you’re in a confined space, you’re much more likely to contract the infection – so it would be best if you could minimize the amount of time you spend indoors but if you’re already inside, ensure that the facility has proper ventilation and filtration systems to open windows and doors as well as increase airflow throughout the space.

Amount of Necessary Touching of Shared Equipment and Gear

Remember that the virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person and but it is also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it (contracted from a different person), and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. In this case, it would be best to minimize equipment sharing, to clean and disinfect shared equipment between use by different people to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

Ability to Engage in Physical Distancing While Not Actively Engaged in Play

When players aren’t on the field, how far away can they sit or stand from one another? When players are not actively participating in practice or competition, attention should be given to maintaining a noticeable amount of physical distance between participants by increasing space between players and staff on the sidelines or benches. Additionally, the coaching staff might especially benefit from telling the players to use this newfound downtime for individual skill-building work or cardiovascular conditioning, rather than having to stay clustered together.

Age of Players

Another consideration that you might want to take into account would be the age of the players involved. Older youth, for example, might be able to better follow directions for physical distancing and take other proactive actions like not sharing water bottles.

It’s important to note that these are not all the considerations that were listed down by the CDC. They have a much more extensive list that could be found on their website. The list above was created to just give you some basic guidelines on what you, your co-parents, and the community members should take into account if you do plan to resume sporting activities. Make sure to check out the activities that Crown Asia, one of the premier real estate developers with thousands of house and lot for sale, has in store for you.

Children playing football

3 Ways To Prepare Your Children and Yourself For The Return of Sports Season

That said, as we return to normal operations, here are three things that everyone could do to prepare for the return of the sports season.

1.) Get in Shape

It’s been almost 20 months since the pandemic began and many people would have probably gained some weight during the time they spent staying at home, athletes included. Before the return, though, you might want to start a fitness regimen that will get you in shape just in time for the sports season. You could start by writing down a fitness plan or approaching your old coach or trainer for advice. If you can’t make it to a gym (because they aren’t open yet), there are a lot of exercise apps that will make your workouts at home fun.

Make sure to take advantage of the amenities of your community. Crown Asia, one of the Philippine’s prime sellers of real estate and houses and lots for sale, for example, has many open fields and parks that people could capitalize on and use to train.

2.) See Your Doctor

The next step is to make sure that you’re physically ready to play. When the borders and restrictions lightened, many rules and guidelines were put in place to protect the community. Given that, it would make sense to assume that something like a vaccination card or regular covid tests will be a requirement for players to participate. Your schools or team might also want you to get a sports physical before allowing you to play or even to just try out. Because everyone needs to get checked before they’re allowed to play, doctors are busiest at the beginning of sports seasons and you should schedule an appointment as early as you can.

3.) Set Realistic Goals

When contact sports return, make sure that you set up small, specific goals for yourself or your team to aim for. The important thing about here is that you make sure that you are setting up realistic goals for yourself and your team. Make sure to take into consideration the possibility of leagues ending early.

Setting realistic goals is one of the best ways to make sure that you achieve your desires. Be sure to write them down and discuss them with credible authorities so parents and coaches can support you all throughout.

Women's Sports

Why Should Contact Sports Be Opened?

The most obvious answer to this question is the simple fact that exercise is medicine. Physical activity helps to manage stress, fight off illnesses, and maintain positive mental health. Even when people were unable to go to the gym to train or to work out, there were a lot of other creative alternatives that helped them stay physically active while maintaining a safe social distance. Many people, for example, looked to practice yoga, pilates, or at-home calisthenics. Zumba classes were also another popular option. All these options were viable and trending early on in the pandemic.

With so many people confined to their homes and with health being a major question mark, staying healthy and exercising while at home became a genuine trend. The best part about it was that if you did opt to exercise within your home, you had to find ways to get creative and use what you have at your disposal. The usual bench that one can see in the gym, for example, was replaced with chairs or stairs, and weights were replaced with water bottles or cans. There were a lot of creative solutions being implemented.

Of course, as time went on, exercising at home became a chore more than an exciting hobby to look forward to in the day. Exercising at home, while allowing you greater flexibility throughout the day, proved to be lonely.

It’s great that people are becoming more health-conscious and are taking on a more positive stance towards exercise and physical health, but we also need to reimplement contact sports to continue the trend and reintroduce the social and community aspect of exercise to the activity. As we reintroduce contact sports to society, we reintroduce the community.

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