As health authorities continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is mandatory for trainers and businesses providing training facilities to comply with the guidelines set by the Government of Pakistan. In this article, we will explain the guidelines for coaches, athletes, and trainers in light of the instructions and SOPs provided by the Government of Pakistan and the best practices proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Key Preventive Measures
All players/athletes, coaches/trainers, volunteers, and employees should adopt the following preventive measures:
- In general, where proximity control is not possible, sporting activities should be avoided at this stage.
- Maintain at least a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between two players/officials at all times
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub/sanitizer before eating or after touching any surface.
- Respiratory hygiene should be encouraged at all times i.e., sneezing or coughing into tissue/handkerchief or your arm.
- Clean and wipe any equipment, before and after use.
- Discourage sharing of items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect like towels, clothing players use to wipe their faces or hands.
- High risk group including elderly (age > 65) or people of any age who have underlying medical conditions, should avoid visiting playgrounds/play areas.
- Sport events are to be held with limited officials and no spectators.
- Players/athletes, coaches and managers should be educated to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and stay home, if unwell.
Note: The World Health Organization (WHO) does not advice wearing masks during exercise. This is because sweat can make the mask wet and make breathing difficult. Furthermore, this might also result in the growth of microorganisms.
Ensuring Healthy Sports Venues/Events
Sports organizations, athletes and managers should consider the following guidelines to maintain a healthy environment.
- Use a clearly designated entrance (with thermal screening) and a separate clearly established exit to help maintain social distancing.
- Wherever possible, activities should be organized in outdoor settings.
- Ensure natural ventilation by opening windows and doors in case of indoor locations to increase airflow.
- Display information in highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances and exits and in restrooms) to promote everyday protective measures and mitigation strategies against COVID-19.
- Make alcohol-based hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, soap and water, or similar cleaning or washing materials readily available at game sites and at entry and exit points.
- Avoid using locker rooms. If necessary, maintain social distancing while in use.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces on in and around the facility, including sinks and toilets.
- Ensure regular cleaning of gymnasium floors to reduce the risk of transmission from shared objects (e.g., balls).
- A designated staff member should oversee activities to ensure public health guidelines are followed.
You can also access detailed SOP’s for athletes, coaches, managers and sports officials by the Ministry of National Health Services.
If you are a coach, athlete, trainer, or someone who wants to learn more about COVID-19, you can send us a private message on the Bolo Facebook Page.