Deep into the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a lot of buzz about how sports are finding success keeping the spread of COVID-19 low during the pandemic. Both high school football and professional football have been successful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a high school athletic trainer this caught my attention.
Let us look at some the keys similarities and differences between the professional and high school levels that help sports have successful seasons during the pandemic.
At the top we find the organizations who are directing the guidelines.
Each team at the professional level is following the guidelines created by their professional organization. The state interscholastic athletic organization is the comparable group at the high school level. This is important to the success both levels.
All teams who are playing each other are following a similar set of rules set by a supervising organization.
The three basic things are the basis of each set of guidelines for teams and athletes.
- physical distancing
- clean hands
Teams and athletes at both levels can find success by following these recommendations day to day.
Game day guidelines are important to the success at each level.
Game day brings with it the possibility to spread COVID-19 with new contacts.
Player health is at the center.
The goal is the same: quarantine athletes that could put others at risk of spreading COIVD-19.
Player health screening is likely the biggest difference between the professional and high school sports. At the high school, the screening tool is a simple “yes” or “no” questionnaire and temperature. It has been successful in stopping the spread of COVID-19 among high school teams.
Identify essential people who will attend and livestream the game for everyone else to watch.
Essential people on a high school game day include coaches, officials, game managers, athletic trainers and sometimes the media.
Watch any professional football game during the pandemic you will see an empty stadium with only a few fans.
Fans are a challenge at the high schools. Fans often includes parents, grandparents, siblings and friends of the athletes and everyone wants to come. The solution is each player is given two tickets for fans and the family decides who can attend. Some high schools have no fans at all.
The professional football fans have always been able to watch game at home. High schools use livestreams for fans to watch at home.
These are all basic public health guidelines.
High schools may not have the same access to testing and additional equipment used by professional football to stop the spread of COVID-19 among teams, but they do have public health guidelines.
There is one more tool professional football uses that is available to high schools, as well.
Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals who can develop and carry out COVID-19 guidelines, screening, and tracing, that are unique to a high school’s sports team.
If public health guidelines were the only tools available for a high school, there is a chance that they may have a successful sports season.
Athletic Trainers can bring the same professional COVID-19 healthcare right to the sideline of a high school team.
Together Athletic Trainers and public health guidelines can increase the chance of a successful high school sports season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copyright 2020 Lindsey Rozinski. All Rights Reserved.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.