In the age of COVID-19, access to youth sports in the United States hangs clearly in the balance. But that does not still negate the fact that kids and teens need exercise. And the pandemic has placed significant limits on the possibility of that. Stakeholders fear that youth sports can’t afford to go right into competitions, perhaps it won’t ever remain the same again. Presently, there is hardly a way to eradicate the risk of infection that can prove fatal ultimately. Except, of course, a vaccine is found, a cure is created, or somehow the virus is completely gone.
Apart from the way sports are played, sharing of equipment is another risk of spreading the virus from one person to another. Therefore, organizers or management bodies should see that appropriate measures are in place. The following points are therefore worth considering, as ways by which the COVID19 pandemic will change the face of youth sports in the US;
1. Nature of Sports: as earlier mentioned, sporting activities that limit the need for a joint participatory team can slowly begin. Whereas, team participation as in basketball and football will require much more care among young people.
2. Physical interaction: communication or closeness among players and between players and members of the staff can be a risky matter. It perhaps may be more difficult to maintain social distancing where a player needs to take instruction from his coach. Therefore, there is a necessity to modify and regulate that interaction to stay safe.
3. Equipment Use: instead of training collectively and free sharing equipment, teammates must also learn to achieve fitness through personal time in practice and ensure the tools have been disinfected thoroughly before another player takes them up. Examples of such devices include bats, racquets, balls, mats, water bottles, and gears.
4. Social distancing: during breaks, while the players are on the touchline or the bench, they must still maintain social distancing and wear kids face masks. The sitting arrangement should such that it permits space in-between. At these points, sports management for youths should enjoin parents or teachers and guardians to be around to monitor the movements of the kids.
5. Non-essential Guests: Clearly, it is not yet time for unwanted visitors into the field of play. For now, the youth sports will be about physical and mental fitness for the players and not entertainment per se. Therefore, there might be a limit to the number of spectators, visitors, volunteers, non-essential staff, amidst other activities.
6. Local rather than travelling: in reorganizing the sporting activities, we can place more emphasis on local community youths, rather than moving out of the locality. Travelling will add to the risk of exposing the team to the virus. Besides, every community may have its own unique rules, which complements the general rules.
The world is learning to come to terms with the possibility that the coronavirus might be around for longer than anticipated. There is also a possibility of the gradual opening of venues of exercises—howbeit, with strict rules to exclude crowd. For instance, tennis, golf, running are low-contact sports, aside for spectators. The safety level of each game can also be carefully examined among youths to determine which one can slowly begin again.