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UPMC Designs Playbook for Return of Youth Sports

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Rick Pietzak
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PITTSBURGH – A multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers led by UPMC Sports Medicine has developed guidelines to assist coaches, athletic trainers and organizers with creating a safe environment for youth athletes, fans and staff as they consider a return to play.


The UPMC Youth Sports Playbook contains recommendations for establishing a minimal set of standards in several categories for resuming athletic programs, including pre-participation physicals, social distancing, equipment sanitization, personal protective equipment, acclimation phases, practice and competition tactics, and illness protocols.


UPMC Playbook play icon“COVID-19 forced a timeout and changed the way we are living in 2020. As we all are trying to adjust our daily game plans, many teams have asked us how to take the first steps back. We hope the UPMC Playbook provides communities with a starting point to help get athletes back in the game,” said Jeanne Doperak, D.O., UPMC primary care sports medicine physician.


Doperak led the development of the playbook with experts from UPMC Sports Medicine and the departments of orthopaedic surgery and infectious disease in conjunction with the UPMC Wolff Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation


“As the full impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, we felt it essential to develop a framework and reference for our sports medicine partners and patients for the days ahead,” said MaCalus V. Hogan, M.D., M.B.A., UPMC vice chair of orthopaedic surgery and medical director for outcomes at the Wolff Center. 


The playbook also recognizes the guidelines may be subject to change as the medical and scientific communities learns more about COVID-19. It also reinforces the importance of consulting and following the most up-to-date guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  


The full playbook can be viewed on the UPMC Sports Medicine website.