Officials responsible for outdoor sports activities must understand thunderstorms and lightning to make informed decisions about when to seek safety. Without this knowledge, officials can base their decisions on personal experience or a desire to complete the activity. Unfortunately, decisions based on past experiences or a desire to complete the activity can put the lives of the people involved at risk. Most of the transmission associated with outdoor sports has been related to off-field activities, such as sharing meals and during transportation in private vehicles where people were unmasked or partially masked.
Bring personal sports equipment labeled (with your name), water bottle, towel, disposable tissues, hand sanitizer, and mask. Children and teens who have participated or are unable to participate in important events, such as their last high school sports season or a state championship tournament, and those with a history of depression and anxiety may be more affected than others. All children should have an annual health monitoring visit, which ideally incorporates pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE; also known as a sports physical exam). Athletes participating in sports with an emphasis on running may want to start 8 to 12 weeks before the season and perform a beginner running program (such as with the “Couch to 5k” or “None To Run” app) to help guide this gradual increase in impact.
With prolonged rest from activity, athletes are at significant risk of injury when they return to sports. Participating in sports and physical activity allows young people to improve their cardiovascular health, strength, body composition and general fitness. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask for all indoor sports, training, competition and on the sidelines. The safe use of masks helps young athletes protect their teammates, themselves and the sports season.
Proper use of masks during indoor sports decreases the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and people can choose to wear a mask at any time to help mitigate the risk of infection. Athletes who participate in swimming, diving, and other water sports should not wear a mask while in the water. For organized outdoor activities, the National Weather Service recommends that organizers have a lightning safety plan and follow it without exception. Traditional medium-risk sports practices and competitions are expected to be allowed starting July 6 and July 20 for high-risk sports.
Children and teens who participate in outdoor activities may be at greater risk of contracting heat-related illnesses if they are not acclimatized. Under the guidance, it is allowed to open outdoor sports facilities and be available for organized sports activities for young people and adults.