Volume 2, Issue 39 | June 12, 2020
The Latest on COVID-19 & Sports
The phrase "check your local listings" could be the new advice for parents and coaches across the country this week, as states, cities and leagues move at varying speeds and with different guidelines to return to play from the COVID-19 lockdown. While high schools in many locations have moved to resume summer workout programs ( a move one coach likened to "Christmas" ) others remain sidelinened, waiting for local governments to give them a green light . Some of those in the latter group have resorted to looking for opportunities to compete out-of-state , a move the CDC still categorizes as "high risk" for athletic competition.

In a study published this week by the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute , parents seemed to respond positively to many of the safety measures being promoted by the CDC and NFHS, while blanching at the idea that a youth sports events would not include spectators (i.e. parents). Meanwhile, the New York Times asked more than 500 epidemiologists in a survey whether or not they would feel comfortable attending a sporting event (or concert), with 64% responding that they would not do so for a year or longer (only 3% suggested they would do so this summer). While the respondants are almost certainly picturing major sporting events, it remains instructive how some of the nation's leading medical experts feel about large gatherings in the near future.

It may also be important to look at how many of those returning to workouts or practice have tested positive for the coronavirus. While public information is limited for the youth and high school levels at this time, universities are reporting some cases in athletes who have returned to campus . None of the cases appear to be widespread, but the trends bear watching as more athletes return to practice and play at all levels over the summer months.

As we noted at the top, when and how kids return is a matter of where you live, what school you attend, or what league you play in. Everyone is watching each other to see what works and what doesn't, hoping to keep kids safe while getting them active once again. If you have something interesting to share from your area, drop us an email via information@playlikeachampion.org . We'll continue to monitor states, cities and leagues over the coming weeks.
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.
The Winds of Change are Blowing in Sports
Sports have played a pivotal role in the conversations & protests about racial injustice that have taken hold of America over the past two weeks. Athletes like Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes have taken the lead in calling for change, with coaches and leagues following their lead. A columnist gives a few examples of the shift and ponders what the future will look like.
The Time is Now to Prioritize Mental Health in Youth Sports
The events and circumstances of the past few months have certainly brought their share of trauma, anxiety and grief to both kids and adults. As youth sports return to the field this summer and fall, it's important to remember that mental health is critical to the well-being and performance of young athletes. This week, Project Play hosted a webinar with experts focused on this topic. We encourage you to read the recap and give it a watch.
Pandemic Leaves a Void for HS Athletes Hoping to Be Recruited
When sports were halted across the country in March, the dreams of many high school players were also put on hold. While elite recruits are tracked early and often by major programs, the reality is that most athletes hoping to play in colleges of all sizes rely on coaches seeing them in ways that are now difficult. It's created a different world for high school athletes across the country.
Mount Carmel Trio Focuses on Fundraising, Despite COVID-19
Sports brought this trio of coaches together when they played high school football. More than 30 years later, not even COVID-19 can keep them from helping others through a fundraising program that helps youth and high school teams in Illinois.
Empty Stadiums May Impact the Decisions of Officials
As we adjust to a "new normal" at all levels of sports, those responsible for what competition looks like are considering studies into how empty stands affect the performance of athletes and officials. Could home field advantage prove to be more than just comfort or fan support?
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The Quotable Coach
"We must become uncomfortable for the sake of humanity and progress. We must open our hearts with compassion and empathy. We must be transparent and listen to one another, in order to grow with each other and strive to do better for generations to come. Above all, we are called to love one another. Love never fails."

~ Dave Aranda
Aranda was named the head football coach at Baylor University in January after winning last year's National Championship as LSU's Defensive Coordinator.
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