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How to keep kids safe while playing sports | St. Louis health care experts' advice

A clinical team of experts recommended a four-phase approach to bringing sports back

ST. LOUIS — Health care systems across the St. Louis area are offering guidance for resuming organized sports and activities.

BJC HealthCare/Washington University physicians, Mercy and SSM Health/SLU Care collaborated to come up with recommendations for coaches, athletic directors and parents.

Sports medicine and infectious disease specialists said to continue frequently washing hands, keep social distance, disinfect high-touch areas and avoid touching our face.

Recommendations more specific to sports include:

  • Athletes, coaches, referees/umpires should undergo health screenings prior to starting any activity.
  • Games and practices should be scheduled to avoid overlap.
  • The use of locker rooms should be avoided. If they are used, proper social distancing should be practiced.
  • No spectators should attend any workout or practice.
  • No sharing of water bottles, and each bottle should be clearly marked with the player’s name.
  • Team huddles should be eliminated.
  • Coaches and officials should wear masks.

A clinical team of experts recommended a four-phase approach to bringing sports back, with the possibility of phase one starting June 15, if there is a stable or downward trend of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Each of the phases will build up the amount of interaction players may have with each other, according to a press release.

“The health and safety of our community is our priority, but as a father of children who are athletes, I very much recognize the desire to again enjoy things like youth and school sports,” said Dr. Alexander Garza, with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. “To be successful with this, we must continue to be diligent in our hygiene and social distancing practices to control the spread of COVID-19.”

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RELATED: Missouri Youth Soccer Association releases COVID-19 guidelines to return to play

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