Thanks to smooth vaccine rollouts and decreasing infection rates, most states have lifted their COVID-19 restrictions. This means youth sports and recreation, including contact sports, have the green light to take place throughout this summer. This means youth sports and recreation, including contact sports, have the green light to take place throughout this summer.
However, it’s still vital to take safety measures in contact sports whenever possible to create a safe environment for players, coaches, and volunteers alike. Here are three key safety measures for contact sports to reduce risk this summer.
1. Make a game plan to reduce risk
Team sports and contact sports can increase the risk of virus transmission – not just of COVID-19, but any other contagious sicknesses. Be prepared with a game plan for reducing risk as much as possible. Get started on your game plan with ideas like these:
- Limit equipment sharing. Encourage your youth athletes to use their own equipment whenever possible, such as gloves, headgear, water bottles, and more.
- Sanitize frequently. From handwashing to wiping down mats and other equipment, frequent sanitization is crucial in keeping practices and games hygienic.
- Focus on skill-building. Limiting contact and maintaining distance during contact sports is tough, but try getting creative with drills and team play, such as focusing on skill-building.
- Get outdoors. Practice, train, and compete in outdoor settings and larger fields of play as much as possible, especially during high-intensity activities.
- Limit indoor activity and out-of-town travel. If you must hold activities indoors, try to find facilities with high ceilings and appropriate ventilation.
Reducing risk is an essential preventative safety measure for contact sports. Are you interested in more information about protecting your youth sports team from potential legal risks related to coronavirus? Check out our blog on Insuring Youth Sports Teams in the Age of Coronavirus.
2. Keep everyone informed
When it comes to keeping your players, volunteers, and leaders safe, keeping everyone informed is a crucial part of your safety measures for contact sports. This communication should include giving parents recommendations for keeping their youth athletes safe at home or off the field. Remember, what one athlete does off the field can impact the whole team!
It may be a good idea to send a waiver home with your players or volunteers to explain safety precautions, cite current official guidelines or regulations, and verify any existing health conditions or increased risk of getting sick. This also offers you the opportunity to update contact information and ensure you have documentation that you did everything possible to inform and protect your youth participants, volunteers, and leaders.
3. Outline a plan in case someone gets sick
Keeping everyone informed also applies to providing timely notifications if someone gets sick or becomes exposed to COVID-19. Safety measures for contact sports should be both proactive and reactive! Do you have a plan outlined in case an infection or exposure occurs? Your plan should consider things like:
- How to modify practices or competitions, or when to make the judgment call to pause all activities
- When someone should stay home or be sent home, including feeling unwell or waiting on COVID-19 test results
- Cleaning protocols in case someone falls ill or tests positive for COVID-19
- Sharing timely notifications to everyone on the player roster, family members, coaches, volunteers, and any others
It’s best to err on the side of caution and cover all your bases when planning safety measures for contact sports. This level of caution will help you prioritize the health and safety of your contact sports team’s youth participants and all the people involved in making your summer season a success.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to identifying risk factors and getting coverage where you need it, talk to Team ESP! Over 3,000 organizations have chosen ESP Specialty for their insurance needs. We are ready to help you design the right plan for you and answer any questions.
Whether you’re wondering if your organization needs accident medical insurance, curious about what your sports league insurance should cover, or ready to talk about your sports insurance needs, Team ESP can help.
Go Ahead, We’ve Got You Covered.