Together with Australian State Institutes and Academies of Sport, and National Sporting Organisations, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has developed a framework to inform the resumption of sport while at the same time, preserving public health and minimising the risk of community transmission.
The Framework recognises that resumption of sport and recreation activities will be a complex process. It recommends and describes a careful and phased approach to ensure the safety of athletes, personnel and the wider community, with reference to variation between contact and non-contact sport and indoor and outdoor activity.
It is recognised that the timing of progression from one phase to another will vary from region to region and will be influenced by community transmission rates and advice from health and government authorities. Individual jurisdictions will determine the timing of progression through phases, taking account of local epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies and public health capability.
We have already begun to see announcements of initial scaling back of restrictions in some states and this is likely to continue to fluctuate over time. As such, sporting clubs and organisations need to be flexible and ready to respond.
All individuals who participate in and contribute to sport and recreation must be considered in planning, from high performance/professional levels, to community competitions, volunteers and recreational sport.
The important elements of being prepared to resume sport are described in the Framework:
- education of athletes, personnel and volunteers
- risk assessment of the sporting environment with particular respect to infection control
- continuing to accommodate social distancing
- a focus on ‘get in, train, get out’ training and/or sports medical servicing that minimises unnecessary contact
- agreed protocols for management of illness among athletes and other personnel with specific consideration for those more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection
- graded return to training and competition to mitigate injury risk associated with a sudden increase in training load
In all aspects, health and safety are paramount.
Sports Medicine Australia is working with experts and key stakeholders to develop policies, education and support for Sports Trainers and the community sport sector.
Recommendations and variations for community and individual sporting activities at Level A, B, C can be found at Appendix A of the Framework which we have summarised at this link.
AIS Chief Medical Officer Dr David Hughes led the development of the Framework and the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport & Recreation Activities.
Listen to Dr Hughes here as he explains the importance of taking a health-first approach.
Hear Dr Hughes talk about the framework with SEN’s Gerard Whateley below.
Audio – SEN