LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas for Medical Science says it has created a series of guidelines to help high school and college sports teams plan for a safe return to athletic activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UAMS COVID19 Sports Committee, which drafted the outline, included experts from sports medicine, orthopaedic surgery, family medicine, pathology, and infectious disease.
Dr. Ramon Ylanan was apart of that team.
He told KNWA/KFTA the recommendations hit every aspect of sports-related activities in order to help ensure everyone is safe while making the transition back to some normalcy.
“Everyone is going to have to do their part in order to make the transition back to the new normal as smooth as possible,” Dr. Yalanan said.
Shiloh Christian Athletic Director Jeff Conaway said if it was left to the coaches, he’s not sure if they would know how to best manage this.
“I think it’s comforting to know that the people who really know and understand this are giving us the advice that we need to be safe,” he said.
Conaway said he appreciates the professionals involved putting together a plan to help keep the athletic environments out of harm’s way.
He said he trusts that all the coaches in the area will take all of these recommendations seriously.
The guidelines include:
- Education for coaches and staff
- Quarantine and screening guidelines, plus what to do if a team member tests positive
- Advice for pre-participation screening during physicals
- Guidelines for home life and safe living situations for student-athletes to limit the potential for disease spread
- Tips on team meals, transportation, on-field hydration
- Equipment disinfection
- Best staff and management practices, such as continuing to conduct meetings remotely when possible
- Guidelines for locker rooms and training rooms
- Recommendations on vaccinations
“Our experts developed these guidelines so teams across the state don’t have to start from scratch as they consider what a safe return to play might look like,” said Wesley Cox, M.D., committee chairman and chief of orthopaedics and sports medicine at UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “We also wanted to provide some basic expectations for all teams so they feel they can interact and compete with the peace of mind of knowing everyone is holding themselves to the same safety standards. Safe team sports makes for safe students and safe communities.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson has said he will announce his decision on if team sports can resume and when on May 20.
School physicians and team physicians are encouraged to reach out to UAMS with questions and for additional recommendations at (479) 966-4491 or (501) 364-8336.