Encouraging Kids To Stay Safe While Playing Youth Sports

Long Island’s youngest athletes can play youth sports, even though COVID-19 is still present in the region. And as schools prepare to reopen, families are registering kids for a host of after-school activities, including soccer, football, basketball and more. For kids, youth sports offer the chance to socialize, stay fit and learn about becoming part of a team.

Now, Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care is providing families with safety guidelines as low-risk youth sports return in New York.

Youth sports will look different this year. And while the new protocols call for social-distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing, Dr. Lynda Gerberg, Cohen Children’s Northwell Health-GoHealth Pediatric Urgent Care’s Lead Pediatrician, offers key ways to decrease risks while enjoying the benefits of youth sports.

“Children gain so much by participating in youth sports, including building self-esteem, developing social interactions and learning all about teamwork. And there are strategies to put in place right now to help protect the health of teammates, coaches and their families,” Dr. Gerberg said.

Dr. Gerberg’s safety tips include:

• Staying home when not feeling well, to protect the health of all players, coaches and families, and confirming with your doctor or the health department as to when it is safe to re-turn to the sport

• Washing hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after games and after using any shared equipment

• Agreeing that all players bring their own equipment whenever possible

• Limiting physical closeness and always trying to keep 6 feet of distance between all par-ticipants when possible

• Creating a new cheer to show team spirit, while still practicing social distancing

• Establishing a no-spitting rule

• Agreeing that all coaches, parents and other spectators must wear cloth face coverings

• Setting a rule that all players wear face coverings when possible

• Performing all skill-building and conditioning drills at home, to the extent possible, either alone or with parents/family members to minimize contact with others

• Avoiding sharing towels, clothes or anything used to wipe faces

• Agreeing that parents should not hand out snacks at games

Kids are eager to return to youth sports, enjoy the exercise and spend time with friends. Yet these activities won’t be the same amid the unprecedented coronavirus. Still, by adhering to safety pre-cautions, families can enjoy the benefits of sports and fitness and lower the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

All Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers provide services to children who are six months and older. And with virtual visits, families can connect with a Cohen Children’s North-well Health-GoHealth Urgent Care pediatric provider from the comfort of their homes. Most Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care locations are open extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and are open all holidays – 365 days a year. For more information, visit gohealthuc.com.

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