How to safely return to sports in Phase 2 of reopening

How players, coaches can safely return to sports in Phase 2 of reopening

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - You and your kids may have been waiting for this moment … to return to sports. Well, before you lace up your cleats again, here’s what you need to know about safely returning to the game.

After being stuck inside, this high school team thinks it sure feels good to throw the ball again.

“It’s nice to be out and let the kids vent a little bit," said Paul Distefano, head football coach at Plaquemine High School. "You know, everybody is tired of being at home for three months.”

The Plaquemine High School Green Devils football team return for their first day of summer training.
The Plaquemine High School Green Devils football team return for their first day of summer training. (Source: wafb)

In between rain and shine, the Plaquemine Green Devils take to the field on their first day back since March but it’s not a full-on sprint into the game yet.

“I would say it’s life back to normal, but it’s not. We’re doing things we’re not accustomed to,” Coach Distefano added.

Those things the head coach isn’t used to is taking everybody’s temperature and enforcing limitations in the weight room for the team’s safety. So, that begs the question: Is it really safe to return to sports?

The Plaquemine High School Green Devils football team return for their first day of summer training.
The Plaquemine High School Green Devils football team return for their first day of summer training. (Source: WAFB)

“Depending on the sport, depending on the person … all of those factors and depending on how well you’re cleaning it,” said J. Michael Robinson, a family and sports medicine physician with Our Lady of the Lake.

Dr. Robinson explained that right now, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. He said the main thing is to assess the risks.

“Those who are at higher risk for complications, whether that be the coaches or players, it’s not recommended they participate,” Dr. Robinson pointed out.

He added some sports to safely jump into are golf, bowling, tennis, baseball, and softball. For now, there are some limitations with soccer, basketball, and football. That’s why Distefano said his team is being cautious.

“Our philosophy is we all pretend that we are infected with the virus and it’s up to us to take care of all of those in our area,” said the head coach.

Dr. Robinson also recommends athletes follow the guidelines set out in each phase. For now, that means every athlete has their own water bottle, all equipment is thoroughly cleaned, players exercise in smaller groups, and the locker rooms are off-limits.

The Plaquemine Green Devils just hope to see football season once again.

“And hopefully we have Friday night lights again in south Louisiana. This is what we live for,” Distefano noted.

So, if your kid just wants to pick up the ball again, the experts say the best thing to do is to keep up with the health guidelines. You can learn more from the Louisiana Department of Education here.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.