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Getting back in the game


College and high school athletes can play sports this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic if they follow a few recommendations outlined in a recent study by the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut.

COVID-19 has sidelined many athletes from their typical training for several months. The combination of lifestyle modifications and potential illnesses associated with COVID-19 presents important, athlete-specific health and safety risks as high school and college athletic programs return to action.

In response to the concerns, several organizations came together with the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut to publish guidelines and policy templates based on research and expert consensus to address topics such as preparticipation evaluations, heat acclimatization, injury prevention and educating key stakeholders.

“The goal is to ensure a safe return to physical activity for high school and college athletes following this long layoff caused by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Tony Caterisano, a professor in Furman’s Department of Health Sciences and an author of the guidelines.

Some of the considerations and recommendations include:

  • People with a history of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 should recognize unique risks for themselves and others before returning to a sport. A medical evaluation is strongly advised.
  • Since social distancing practices have impacted off-season training, incrementally scale up conditioning levels and phase in weight training.
  • To reduce the risk of exertional injuries, use the “50/30/20/10 rule” over four weeks – reduce normal conditioning practices by 50% the first week, 30% the second week, 20% for week three and 10% by week four.

Much of the source material for the study originated with a paper, “CSCCa and NSCA Joint Consensus Guidelines for Transition Periods: Safe Return to Training Following Inactivity,”  Caterisano, Ben Snyder and Matt Feigenbaum from Furman and colleagues from other universities published last year in Strength and Conditioning Journal.

The guidance has been endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine, Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Last updated January 1, 1970
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director