The Impact of COVID-19 & Young Athletes

How to Keep Our Young Athletes Healthy & Safe

By Ashley Brown

As new sports season begin, it is important to start slow & build gradually. The pandemic has undoubtedly challenged the processes and protocols of our sports seasons and for some student athletes it may be the only season the student participates in.

Participating in sports has tremendous health benefits including promoting physical fitness and mental wellness. Not only do sports provide crucial social construct and interaction especially in these unprecedented times for our athletes, but physical activity provides benefits to the immune system. However, to keep our student athletes healthy & safe, we must remind them doing too much too soon also can slow down progress in the long run.

For student athletes who have had an extended time away from sport, overtraining, or trying to “catch up” does not allow the body to adjust and recover, putting the student at higher risk for injury. Looking upstream to the many paths to addiction, a prescription for pain medication due to a sports injury can be the first step to addiction. Adolescents involved in organized sports may be more likely or at a higher risk to misuse opioid medications because of their increased risk for injury.

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In response to prevent the risks associated with opioids misuse among athletes, the Tackling Opioids through Prevention for Athletes Toolkit has been developed to help support schools and communities respond to addressing this opioid epidemic among this high risk group.

The County Coalition for Healthy & Safe Morris will provide technical assistance on the use of the TOP toolkit. Virtual presentations are available to athletic directors, coaches, youth sports program administrators, and school administrators such as principals, superintendents, and boards of education. To learn more about trainings, resources and materials to support your efforts in implementing evidence-based programs, policies and interventions directly related to student athletes, contact: