Returning to Sports After Having COVID-19

Review the guidelines on returning to youth sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While many of us are simply concerned about kids returning to school, there is an added concerned for other parents, whose kids play sports and have already had COVID-19.

Many kids are returning to playing sports as they return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many kids are returning to playing sports as they return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When can they go back to playing sports?

Returning to Sports During the COVID-19 Pandemic

What are the issues with returning to sports during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Well obviously, there is the issue of a lot of kids getting together during practice and games and the risk that they could get each other sick.

“Sports that require frequent closeness between players may make it more difficult to maintain social distancing, compared to sports where players are not close to each other.”

COVID-19 and Considerations for Youth Sports

There is another issue though.

If kids have been inactive for a long time because we have been worried about them getting together and playing sports, then they might be out of shape and not ready to jump back in at their usual high level of activity.

“Implement a two-week ramp-up period for conditioning—aerobic, interval and strength training to decrease risk of injury—without scrimmages or games.”

Return to Youth Sports after COVID-19 Shutdown: Reference Guides

A graduated return to play program will be necessary until their conditioning improves again.

Returning to Sports After Having COVID-19

But what if your child has already had COVID-19?

When can they start playing sports again?

“Returning to sports participation after a COVID infection will be a significant question posed to pediatric providers in the coming months”

Returning To Play After Coronavirus Infection: Pediatric Cardiologists’ Perspective

Wait, weren’t you aware that returning to sports after having COVID-19 was an issue?

Well, it is…

“Most pediatric patients will be able to be easily cleared for participation without extensive cardiac testing, but pediatric providers should ensure patients have fully recovered and have no evidence of myocardial injury.”

Returning To Play After Coronavirus Infection: Pediatric Cardiologists’ Perspective

Or at should at least be something to think about.

“The question of returning to sports is significant because of the propensity for COVID-19 to cause cardiac damage and myocarditis. While the incidence of myocarditis is lower in the pediatric population compared to the adult population, myocarditis is known to be a cause of sudden death during exercise in the young athletic populations.”

Returning To Play After Coronavirus Infection: Pediatric Cardiologists’ Perspective

Fortunately, kids often have mild or asymptomatic infections when they get COVID-19 and shouldn’t be at risk for heart problems. Even if these kids don’t need further testing, they should likely wait at least 14 days until their symptoms resolved (or after they tested positive if asymptomatic) before playing sports again.

Experts do recommend that older kids, over age 12 years who had more moderate symptoms, especially prolonged fevers or who required bed rest, have an ECG before doing high intensity, competitive sports or physical activity.

Those kids who had severe symptoms, especially if they were hospitalized, should see a pediatric cardiologist and follow the myocarditis return to play guidelines, which include an ECG, echocardiogram, and exercise restrictions, etc.

And all will likely need a graduated return to play program once they are ready to play sports again, as deconditioning will be an issue after weeks or months of being inactive, with further evaluation if they develop chest pain, an abnormal heart rate or rhythm, or fainting during exercise, etc.

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