UPMC Releases Guidelines For A Safe Return To Sports

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Sports are starting to return, including leagues for kids and teenagers.

Governor Tom Wolf says coronavirus guidelines for high schools and the PIAA should be released this week.

In the meantime, UPMC has come out with its own guidelines, based on recommendations from the CDC and International Olympic Committee.

Dr. Jeanne Doperak, a UPMC sports medicine physician and mother of two youth athletes, and her team of physicians believe it is time kids return to sports.

“From a mental health perspective, it’s important. It gives us good cardiovascular health and building muscle and energy. So again, the benefits, really at this point, we feel outweigh the risks,” said Dr. Doperak.

But the doctor still says there are risks, and the guidelines are meant to minimize those.

Some of the recommendations include maintaining 6 feet of social distance whenever possible for players, coaches and fans.

“It’s about the distance of a pool noodle because that’s something that most kids have played with,” Dr. Doperak said. “Measuring it out and having markers on the field or in the concession line or in the restroom line can be helpful.”

Recommendations also include kids wearing masks when not actively participating in the sport.

Coaches, staff and anyone watching should wear masks 100 percent of the time when indoors, and outdoors if the coach is closer than 6 feet to a player.

The guidelines also suggest limiting the number of fans, which will be difficult for grandparents and siblings.

“It is something that’s going to take some getting used to. But is in the overall safety of the community, it is something that is necessary for this year,” Dr. Doperak said.

The guidelines are slightly different for youth sports, high school and collegiate sports.

Click here for the UPMC Sports Medicine Playbook.