Kaiser Permanente has developed and released comprehensive guidance for youth, high school and collegiate athletes to return to sports safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19: Return To Sports Playbook offers information about: exercise and the immune system; symptoms of COVID-19, how it spreads, and hygiene and infection prevention; healthy food choices, sleep, mental health considerations, and coping mechanisms; and sports-specific guidance for a safe return to activities.

The ‘Playbook’ was developed by physicians in The Permanente Medical Group, which serves Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California.

“COVID-19 has sidelined most athletes as it has impacted every aspect of life,” said Richard S. Isaacs, MD, FACS, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group. “We assembled our top sports medicine physicians to develop the COVID-19 Return to Sports Playbook. This will help young athletes as well as their parents, coaches, trainers, teams, and leagues better understand the evidence-based strategies for getting back in the game as safely as possible.”

Susan M. Joy, MD, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Center in Sacramento, who led the development of the ‘Playbook’ said: “Much is still not well understood about the new COVID-19 virus and how it will behave in the coming months and years. The ‘Playbook’ is intended to help athletes navigate what lies ahead, even if it is still changing and hard to predict. By employing the tips and tools offered here, we hope that athletes can still find meaningful connection, achievement, and satisfaction in the unpredictable world of sports.”

Jason Brayley, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s medical director of sports medicine in Northern California and chief of sports medicine for the greater Sacramento region, added “The ‘Playbook’ was designed to help athletes better understand the rationale for developing these evolving strategies,” said Dr. Brayley, co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Center in Sacramento. “For example, what happens in sports where athletes and coaches can maintain appropriate distancing will be different than in close-contact sports, and equipment involved in certain sports varies. Proper cleaning of equipment and sporting goods like basketballs and volleyballs is often overlooked, but it can help protect against the spread of infection.”

Photo courtesy Reuters