The study from Qatar referenced below, appearing in the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” suggests we can return to even our contact sports in a safe and sustainable way. The study concluded that football played outdoors involving close contact between athletes, presents a limited risk for SARS-COV-2 infection and severe illness when preventative measures are in place. Great news, but it does mean we need to be sensible.
What type of measures were employed in Qatar? Some, of course, may be impractical as we don't have the time or budget of a professional sporting team, but given high infection rates in Qatar a slightly looser approach would probably still prove effective. All of the “normal” covid protocols were continued off the pitch but the players were also tested every 3-5 days during the season. No other “special” precautions were undertaken.
Cases did occur amongst players but even with good contact tracing the source of the original infection could not often be found. The study states that “it could be argued that the players were infected during training or matches but the testing of team-mates and opposing teams during the periods of interest did not reveal any matching infections to suggest player to player transmission.........the common denominator for transmission appeared more often to be from events external to the football such as family and social events”.
Notably, as I have discussed in another blog, people with higher levels of activity seem to have few or minimal symptoms, so surely, its time to return to the field, it makes us all better in mind and body.
Jason is the Leichhardt Physiotherapy clinic practice principal. A graduate from Sydney Uni and practicing for over 20 years, he is passionate about sharing new discoveries.