From Shelter to Sport: Safely Returning to Play

Check out these tips for transitioning back to sports while reducing injury risk.

boy working out

COVID-19 has forced sports leagues at all levels—from the NBA to local school and club teams—to cancel games, practices, and tournaments. And although youth sports don’t get as much attention as the big leagues, many young athletes were impacted by these cancellations. Not only did these young athletes lose out on the opportunity to play a sport they love—sometimes for the last time with a certain team—but also they lost out on the physical and emotional benefits that sports provide.

As young athletes start to transition back to playing sports—or want to prepare themselves for when play becomes possible again in accordance with local health department guidelines—our sports medicine experts urge a cautious approach. Jumping right back in at full speed can put athletes at risk for injury and physical and emotional burnout.

That’s why we’ve put together the following tip sheets to help young athletes prepare for a return to the court, field, or pool:

Mental health tips—how young athletes can keep their spirits up during time away from sports, friends, and other features of pre-pandemic life.
Running tips—athletes who participate in running-heavy sports can use these tips to safely increase their mileage and pace.
Ball sport tips—these tips will help athletes who participate in ball sports get back into their sport-specific training while reducing injury risk.
Nutrition tips—information on eating and drinking for peak performance during the transition and beyond.
Strength-building tips—follow these exercises to safely build strength during the transition.
Stretching and stabilization tips—these exercises will help young athletes increase their flexibility, balance, and core strength.

We hope that following these guidelines will help young athletes return to the sports they love without getting injured. For more individualized guidance, please call (844) 41-ORTHO (844-416-7846) for an appointment with a sports medicine specialist.

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