With athlete safety at the top of every school, club and sports organization’s list of priorities to navigate during this ongoing strange season of Coronavirus social distancing life, many parents and players are opening their hearts to new and creative ways to continue to compete. Individual sports such as running, climbing, pickleball, tennis, fencing, cycling and golf are expected to see an increase in interest and participation as athletes search for ways to stay active, but what is the safest sport to play during COVID-19?
Here’s a list of three sports we think are fun and safe options, if you’re looking to branch out:
Fencers already wear standard equipment including masks and gloves for the sport. While the mesh fencing mask does not have any protective effect against COVID-19, some competitors now double up on masks, wearing a cotton one underneath. Social distancing is also less of a challenge for fencing athletes who carry nearly 4-foot-long sabers, epees and foils aimed at poking any opponent who comes near them.
Public health experts have deemed golf as one of the safer activities people can participate in during the pandemic. Golf has a low risk of transmission because it’s outdoors and is a non-contact sport that features competition amongst small groups of people. Dr. Nasir Husain, Medical Director for Infection Prevention at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Michigan, says the risk in golf begins when players start mingling, sharing golf carts and getting within 6 feet of each other. “Just play golf, say hi and bye, and go on your merry way. Don’t come close to each other,” he says.
Skateboarding is an inherently low-risk Coronavirus transmission sport, since only one person fits on a skateboard. Experts say that, as with every individual sport, the risk of spreading the virus grows when the social element of the sport is brought into play. Any sport can climb into the high risk category if social distancing and sanitation guidelines are not followed, says Dr. David Smith, a sports medicine specialist with The University of Kansas Health System. “It’s so easy to stand 6 feet apart, but we are social creatures. We want to be close to one another,” Smith noted. “We want to laugh together, we want to cheer for each other, so yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to watch because potentially they’re transmitting the virus.”
Are you branching out to try new sports that are deemed as low-risk recreational activities to help you stay active and competitive during the pandemic? Tell us about it in the comments below!