Arkansas Children's Hospital Director of Sports Medicine Dr. Michael Israel weighs in.

What should we consider before deciding if my child participates in organized sports this fall?
The current local rate of transmission, the existence of underlying medical conditions and the nature of the specific event. Families should ensure the organization has a documented plan for risk mitigation and procedures in place if there is an exposure before beginning a season.

When can my child safely return to sports after a COVID-19 infection?
After the required quarantine period, a physician clearance is required for school-sanctioned events. Before resuming full activity, a graduated return to play protocol is advised for four to seven days. If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness are reported, evaluation by a provider is recommended.

What’s the best way to protect my child against COVID infection while participating in sports?
The most important prevention measure is vaccination for all age-eligible individuals. Receiving a vaccine will dramatically decrease the likelihood of infection or severe symptoms after exposure and prevent the required quarantine period if exposed by a teammate. We still encourage team masking and distancing protocols whenever possible.

What are the advantages of playing youth sports?
Numerous studies have repeatedly shown the physical and mental health benefits in individuals that are involved in athletics. Kids who play sports have higher graduation rates, GPAs, standardized test scores and lower average BMIs compared to those who do not participate.


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