US Lacrosse has released information for the final stage of its Return to Play recommendations—multi-day, multi-team tournaments with teams from varying geographic regions

With most lacrosse activities shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, US Lacrosse released its initial Return to Play recommendations in late May and listed five stages for the lacrosse community to follow:

  • Stage 1: At-home training
  • Stage 2: Small group modified lacrosse activity
  • Stage 3: Medium group intra-squad scrimmages/practices
  • Stage 4: Medium group local competition/practices
  • Stage 5: Large group competition with multiple teams from varied geographic areas

The Return to Play recommendations were developed by a medical advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Eugene Hong, chair of the US Lacrosse Sport Science & Safety Committee and led by Ann Kitt Carpenetti, VP of Lacrosse Operations for US Lacrosse. The group consists of top medical professionals across multiple disciplines with strong connections to the sport. Additional input was provided by sport, event and legal and risk advisory groups representing every facet of the sport — coaches, officials, youth leagues, clubs and event operators.

No guidance for Stage 5 was provided within the initial Return to Play recommendations because infection risk mitigation strategies for large-scale events had not been developed by public health experts at the time. Large tournaments that attract players and families from multiple states continue to represent the highest risk for potential disease transmission in youth sport. 

Additionally, athletes who have not had sufficient time to transition from relative inactivity to intense competition are at a significantly increased risk for muscular-skeletal injuries. US Lacrosse recommends that event operators, program leaders, coaches and parents carefully consider these risks before staging or participating in such tournaments. Additionally, parents are encouraged to consider state-by-state reopening updates and COVID test positivity rates for the location of each event, as well as participating teams.

As with all stages of US Lacrosse Return to Play recommendations, adherence to local and state public health guidelines and confirmation of the mental and physical health of athletes, coaches and officials is paramount before proceeding with any lacrosse activities.

A detailed list of Stage 5 recommendations is available here and covers the following main subject areas: hygiene/distancing, facility/venue, training/injury prevention considerations, and guidance for when someone gets sick/tests positive for COVID-19.

US Lacrosse will hold a free webinar on Thursday, July 2 at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) to provide further information on the risks associated with lacrosse and COVID-19 and the best practices to follow. Panelists on the webinar include:

  • David Berkoff, MD, University of North Carolina
  • Lori Windolf Crispo, Area President, RPS Bollinger
  • Kellie Loehr, ATC, MedStar Sports Medicine
  • Steve Stenersen, CEO, US Lacrosse

Click here to register: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1199946925027790859

US Lacrosse annually recognizes more than 100 sanctioned tournaments the independent owners and operators of which agree to adopt a set of operational and safety standards established by US Lacrosse in order to improve player safety and quality of experience. During the COVID-19 pandemic, US Lacrosse sanctioned events have committed to take additional steps to mitigate risks, including the following:

  • The event operator must meet state/local requirements for operating a lacrosse event in accordance with the respective community stage for re-opening due to COVID-19, which must be verified by the event operator and US Lacrosse prior to event
  • The event operator and US Lacrosse will review COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates from the state departments of health websites for each event location and the teams travelling to that event to assess increased participant risk due to community spread or hotspot designation. 
  • Event operators must have a COVID-19 action plan (CAP) to include risk mitigation steps for communicable diseases. The CAP is required to be communicated to all event participants prior to the event and posted on the event website, as well as on-site.

A current listing of sanctioned tournaments is available here but is subject to change; US Lacrosse recommends that parents review this list regularly: https://www.uslacrosse.org/events/sanctioned-tournaments

Please visit https://www.uslacrosse.org/return-to-play to stay up-to-date with the latest information related to US Lacrosse Return to Play guidelines.