As students return to school this fall, it is important for student athletes to understand and prioritize their athletic achievements.
In short, if the school says a certain sport will be in session, it doesn’t necessarily mean children should participate, said Dawn Mattern, MD, FAMSSM, Sports Medicine Director with Trinity Health.
“Everyone has the personal responsibility of should they or should they not participate,” Dr. Mattern explained, noting that student athletes should keep in mind their health, as well as the health around them, when it comes to whether or not to take the risk. “For some kids with health issues, it may not be the best year to try out for basketball or football or whatever sport they want to try out for.”
That specific demographic can include students with diabetes or moderate to severe asthma, she said. “We also need to think of who the kid goes home to,” she added, noting that if a parent is in treatment for cancer or if an elderly grandparent is in the home, it is a cause to ask if it is safe for the child to participate. “If a kid gets COVID-19, they may transmit it to a population that is at a higher risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk for severe illness increases with age. “As you get older, your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases,” the CDC said on their website. “For example, people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s and 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.”
Additionally, people with chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), immunocompromised state (a weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher), serious heart conditions (including heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies), or sickle cell disease, are also among those at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.