As your school partner, Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital is ready to help you and your kids have a healthy school year.
Athletic participation, particularly for our youth, is a critical health and wellness issue. While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of infection or furthering the spread of COVID-19, the current science suggests there are many steps we can take to reduce the risk to athletes, coaches and their families.
Here are some key recommendations
Our current recommendation is that any and all equipment that does not absolutely need to be shared should be brought to the practice by the individual athlete, stored in an area at least 6 feet distant from others and then taken home by that individual.
Jerseys/clothing: Any jerseys or clothing used during the activity should be washed daily and shouldn’t be shared with other players during the workout. A trip through the washing machine with regular detergent will be fine to disinfect any clothing items.
Sports equipment: Any equipment used during activities should be disinfected with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified products between each use. Equipment with smooth, or non-fabric surfaces, can be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe. And fabric, or “non-smooth” items (shoes, cleats, pads, etc.), can be cleaned with a disinfectant spray such as Lysol.
Tip: Any balls that must be shared (basketball, baseball, soccer ball, etc.) should be disinfected as much as feasible during the activity.
All individual athletes will be responsible to bring their own water bottles, which should be clearly marked with their name. DO NOT SHARE WATER BOTTLES DURING PRACTICE. As we all know, proper hydration is a critical component of healthy sports participation.
Tip: Send more water than you think. Gallon jugs marked with the athlete’s name in permanent marker can be an easy solution to make sure your athlete has access to safe water.
Carpools can be an important transportation option for families as kids head back to sport. Here are a few recommendations to optimize safety while carpooling:
Physical activity is critical for both our mental and physical well-being. Now, more than ever, exercise is essential to help cope with the many changes and new stresses we are facing. We recommend that kids get 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day. It is critical that a time is prioritized during the day to get away from the screen, get outside and move around.
Exercise comes in many forms: a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood, a family competition or physical challenge, a hike at a local park. Borrow equipment to try out a new sport and find something fun that your child seems to engage with.
Family involvement is an important part of establishing these habits. Our children emulate what they see from us. While it may be difficult to find time for this after a long day at work, it is absolutely critical for our children’s well-being.
Tip: One great resource for different ideas about keeping kids active is the NFL Play 60 initiative with the American Heart Association. They have a great website with plenty of family activities and tips on how to get moving.