Volume 2, Issue 31 | April 17, 2020
The Latest on COVID-19 & Sports
It may still be faint, but there arose this week a glimmer of hope across the United States, as many experts and government officials expressed cautious optimism regarding coronavirus trends. While it remains premature to speculate on specific timelines for our national return to play, America's Point Guard (pictured left) weighed in on what it will take to get back on the fields a t the professional level. Dr. Fauci cited testing, restricted accommodations, and no fans as prerequisites. The lack of fans for the foreseeable future may disappointment many, but the thought of sports returning this summer in some fashion is encouraging (even as some wonder if social distancing may completely change the way we attend events moving forward). In South Korea, they're already playing or planning to return , though opinions differ on the country's approach, as Project Play reports. Here's hoping that the current path in the US allows for youth sports to return soon in the summer or fall.

At the amateur level of sport, the focus this week in several places was on the mental health of athletes and families. Athletes Connected is a collaboration between University of Michigan Athletics, the School of Public Health, and the Depression Center. The group puts out excellent resources for athletes, including this week's Athlete's Guide to Coping During the COVID-19 Pandemic . The NCAA also put out Daily Strategies for COVID-19 and Mental Health for athletes. At the family level, Play Like a Champion continued its virtual Summit Series with a workshop called Parent Like a Champion Today: Support & Resources for Families During COVID-19 . Click the link to watch the one hour session, which presented strategies for coping with stress, encouraging movement, and a popular introduction to mindfulness for athletes and families.

For many high school upperclassman with dreams of playing college, the current recruiting landscape has been difficult. That's even more true for seniors in spring sports, who may have lost their last opportunity to showcase themselves to college programs . For those entering college, it appears that summer workouts and even fall practice are going to look quite a bit different than normal . High school coaches who may be facing some of the same general issues might learn from how college coaches are adapting; it seems clear that self-motivated athletes are going to be at an advantage. In addition, many high school coaches across the country are still wondering whether they will be paid for work this spring and summer. In New Jersey, legislation that may help that cause made its way to the governor this week, with other states considering similar protections.

At the youth sports level, organizations have come together to propose an $8.5 billion federal relief fund. While that may sound like music to the ears of many readers, the proposal is not without controversy. Though the proposal is backed by a number of recreational sports organizations, the effort is spearheaded by leaders in the so-called travel sector of youth sports, causing many to wonder if any relief would simply fund the "pay to play" model while leaving everyone else out. Play Like a Champion has concerns about the proposal since it appears to take a "business as usual" approach to youth sports and does not have specific provisions that assure relief would support programs focused on fun, development and reaching under-served communities. A statement by Dr. Clark Power on these concerns is available here .

In a similar vein, many continue to wonder if the current crisis will have a dramatic affect on the youth sports model as early as this fall. We noted last week that Project Play discussed the issue in a recent webinar , wondering if the crisis will result in a flight from high cost "pay to play" teams to more affordable options. To wit, this sport parent in Spokane evaluates his own experience and wonders if families will re-assess the time and money they put into youth sports, learning that less is more.

Hopefully, we'll find out what this all looks like sooner rather than later. As we noted at the top, a little bit of hope this week has been encouraging, but there's still a long way to go.
Each week we'll highlight some of the best articles and media for coaches, administrators and sports parents below, both those related to COVID-19 and some features that allow us to break away from the news for a moment. We can all use a feel good story as well...
Women's Sports Foundation, Yahoo! Host #WeKeepPlaying
This past week, the Women's Sports Foundation teamed up with Yahoo! Sports to host a live stream designed to inspire young female athletes in a world affected by COVID-19. Featuring athletes, coaches and leaders from Katie Ledecky and Sabrina Ionescu to Billie Jean King, the all-star panel provided insight and motivation for more than an hour. Learn more about the event here and watch via the link below.
Long-time Coaches Learn to Adapt to a New Way of Life
For many high school and college coaches across America, this spring marks the first season without practices and games in decades. These "lifers" have spent years teaching and coaching multiple sports while developing more than just athletes. Here's how some coaches are coping with unexpected downtime and working to keep building relationships from a distance.
The Quarantined Running Club
What do major league baseball coaches and executives do to stay active when their season is put on hold? At least 65 have found the answer in the Social Distance Running Challenge, a running club with humble beginnings that now reaches coast to coast. It's a great example of using friendly competition to stay active and foster relationships. Given that many of the men hate running, it's also entertaining.
Former Football Player Joins the Fight Against COVID-19
Myron Rolle was once among the highest ranked recruits in America. He was a star at Florida State. Then the potential 1st round pick skipped his senior season to accept a Rhodes Scholarship and study at Oxford. While he still made a couple of NFL rosters after college, Dr. Rolle is now a Neurosurgery Resident in Boston on the front-lines of the COVID-19 fight . He says his football career (and teammates) have helped prepare him for this journey.
Feel Good Story of the Week
Actor John Krasinski has gained fame for his roles on The Office and Jack Ryan , as well as several movies. Just like the rest of us, he's a big sports fan in need of some good news. During this week's episode of his new YouTube series Some Good News , Krasinski copes with missing baseball season by highlighting great at-home sports feats, then pays homage to health care heroes with the help of a baseball legend. It's guaranteed to make you smile.
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The Quotable Athlete
"You can only control what you
can control... just take it
day-by-day and try
to win each day ."

~ Katie Ledecky
5-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 15-time World Champion Gold Medalist Swimmer. Ledecky spoke about managing the current environment while training for the next Olympics during this week's #WeKeepPlaying event.
To learn more about programs and events...
Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series