COVID-19: Screening, Updates, Visitor Policy

Tips for High School Athletes to Stay Fit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Three high school football players standing on the sidelines

By Ethan Konoza MS, ATC, NASM-CES, PES
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

By now we are all well aware of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on our daily lives and routines. The Center for Disease Control has strongly recommended practicing “social-distancing”. Social distancing has been defined as the act of avoiding large crowds and maintaining a six-foot plus distance from others. The aim with this practice is to help mitigate the spread of the virus. With schools out and athletics taking a hiatus here are a few tips to help maintain and even improve your fitness levels and overall game during this time period.

  1. Stay active. First and foremost staying active is key. While social distancing may keep us from training with our teams and going to the gym we can still maintain or even improve our fitness levels that were built during preseason. The worst thing you could do for your fitness is to waste all of the preseason conditioning by sitting inactive for a few weeks
    • Go outdoors for a few solo runs or jogs over the break. Staying active and in a routine is crucial to maintaining your aerobic capacity and also helps in building a strong immune system. Make sure to continue to practice social distancing. Go for a run or jog in areas that are less crowded and enjoy the outdoors on your own
    • Perform flexibility and corrective exercise sessions. This is another area that you can focus on during your break to help maintain your overall fitness and health. Take time to work on flexibility and range of motion exercises. (Foam rolling & static stretching)
    • Perform bodyweight exercises. While going to the gym may not be an option performing bodyweight exercises at home can help to build and maintain strength while also preventing injury. Adding exercises like air squats, walking lunges, single-leg balance, glute bridges, planks, deadbugs, bird dogs, push ups, sit ups or burpees are great exercises you can incorporate into your training over the next few weeks to stay active and fit
    • Perform cross training. This break provides a perfect opportunity to partake in things you may not normally get to do in your normal training routine. Going for a bike ride or doing a YouTube yoga or Pilates session can be a fun alternative way to stay active
  2. Stay mentally fit and focused on your sport. Even though you may not be able to practice or train with your team does not mean you can’t improve other aspects of your game aside from physical fitness.
    • Watch old game/practice film. Go through old film to see where you can improve your game in terms of positioning or specific situations
    • Watch old professional games. If you don’t have access to film of your own games you can watch old professional games of your respective sport. Pick out players that play the same position as you and take note of their in game movements and positioning in specific situations to keep yourself mentally engaged and focused on your sport
    • Perform meditation or breathing exercises. Obviously this is a stressful time for everyone. Performing 10 minutes of meditation and breathing exercises are a great way to relief stress

First and foremost, it is important to listen to the experts at the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization and their recommendations. Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and in turn those around you. Continue to practice good hand hygiene and social distancing to help reduce the spread of the virus. If you are feeling unwell or sick skip the workouts and stay at home. 

What to do if you have symptoms or exposure

If you have traveled in an area where the disease is prevalent, have been in contact with anyone known to have disease, or have experienced fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or the symptoms noted above, then please take the following immediate steps:

  • Distance yourself from other players, staff and friends
  • Let one of the MUSC medical staff know your situation
  • Do not go to a doctor’s office or the emergency room if you have symptoms (unless you are having difficulty breathing or becoming very ill). Call ahead if you have to make and appointment
  • Initiate a free screening protocol with MUSC Health using our Virtual Visit (computer or smart phone) using promo code COVID19
    • You will need to enter an email address and create a password
    • Depending on the results of Virtual Screening, you may be directed to a drive-up screening and testing site located at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion facility at the Citadel mall (parking area). Only go there if you are told to go
      •  Address:
        MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion
        2060 Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Charleston, SC 29407

Also

  • Take caution to not share or mix up drink/food items, cups, etc
  • Wipe surfaces regularly with Chlorox wipes or similar antiseptic/antiviral wipe
  • Remember to wash hands with soap x 20 seconds or use a 60% or higher alcohol based hand sanitizer frequently, especially after sneezing, coughing into the hands, before/after eating/drinking, and after using the restroom

What else you can do to reduce risk of illness and help control spread of COVID-19?

Here are other actions that can help us manage the expected spread of COVID-19 and keep our players, coaches, staff, and public healthy during this pandemic:

  • Follow precautions all of the time
  • Wash hands (soap/water or 60% alcohol based sanitizer) regularly, including around meals, after contact with others, after cough/sneezing, and after restroom breaks
  • Stay healthy by getting rest, drinking fluids, avoiding drinking alcohol, taking a multivitamin (including Vitamin C) daily
  • Taking allergy medicine daily (includes oral medicines and nasal sprays) to lower the chance of similar symptoms from allergies
  • Getting a flu (influenza) shot. The flu season is still active and this can lower the chance of developing similar symptoms from this virus. It will not prevent COVID-19 though
  • Clean surfaces you touch often - at least daily (door handles, counter tops, toilets and levers)
  • Cancel and avoid player public interactions
  • Limit contact with pets and animals (there is some thought this virus could be transmitted between animals and humans)
  • So far, sweat is not though to transmit this virus, BUT sweat can mix with saliva (spit) and nasal fluid (sneezing, blowing your nose onto the ground, wiping the face with your arm), so shower immediately after sweating or workouts and ALWAYS use precautions with towels, soiled clothing, etc