When will outdoor sports resume?

There are no limits to indoor or outdoor practice and competition. Practices and competitions for organized indoor and outdoor sports, including indoor and outdoor interstate youth sports, may resume in accordance with health and safety protocols. However, with the emergence of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 with higher infectivity rates, transmission during outdoor activities in the field is of greater concern. To reduce risk, state and local governments, as well as sports governing bodies, recommend modifications to practices, competitions and events.

The AAP recommends that decisions be made at the local level when considering cancellations, delays, or limitations in sports. Children and teens who participate in outdoor activities may be at greater risk of contracting heat-related illnesses if they are not acclimatized. Participating in sports and physical activity allows young people to improve their cardiovascular health, strength, body composition and general fitness. Outdoor activities that allow constant use of face coverings and physical distancing are lower risk than indoor activities that involve close contact between participants and high effort that increases the spread of exhaled particles, the press release said.

All children should have an annual health monitoring visit, which ideally incorporates pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE; also known as a sports physical exam). With prolonged rest from activity, athletes are at significant risk of injury when they return to sports. During the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for children and adolescents to engage in physical activity and participate in sports have sometimes been substantially reduced. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask for all indoor sports, training, competition and on the sidelines.

Water sports such as swimming, diving and water polo, as wet masks can be difficult to breathe. Organized team sports can also resume outdoors, meaning grassroots competitions can take place before the Easter holidays without the need for social distancing. That's why, for starters, we allow the resumption of outdoor activities, outdoor grassroots sports, and outdoor social mixing, subject to the six-two-household rule. All athletes should be monitored for mood changes, especially those whose sports have been disrupted.