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UPMC Sports Medicine Playbook: Minimum Guidelines for Return to Sports During COVID-19

A multidisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers led by UPMC Sports Medicine has developed guidelines to assist coaches, athletic trainers, and organizers in creating a safe environment for youth, high school, and collegiate athletes, fans, and staff as they consider a return to play amid COVID-19.

The Return to Sports Playbooks contain 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.

These guidelines were developed by 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.

The playbooks constitute a starting point to get athletes back to the sports they know and love in the safest manner possible. UPMC is here for you and will be here for your athletes as they return to school and sports. For more information about UPMC’s response to COVID-19, please visit

Please find our resources below and feel free to download and print for your athletes.

August 2021 Update (PDF)

December 2020 Update (PDF)

Youth Athlete Guidelines (PDF)

High School Athlete Guidelines (PDF)

Collegiate Athlete Guidelines (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

These guidelines may be subject to change as the medical and scientific communities learn more about COVID-19. Please continue to consult and follow the most up-to-date guidelines from your state government, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contact UPMC Sports Medicine

To schedule an appointment or ask a question, call 1-855-937-7678 or contact us online.