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US Lacrosse has announced a set of return to play recommendations to assist the lacrosse community in following the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk for all participants in the COVID-19 environment. The recommendations were developed by a medical advisory committee, chaired by Dr. Eugene Hong, chair of the US Lacrosse Sport Science & Safety Committee. Download a full copy of the recommendations from the committee. (PDF)
The return to play guidelines follow a five-stage process that will vary regionally based on recommendations and allowances from local and state public health authorities. Each of the five stages represent a progression that allow for further activity as public health conditions warrant.
Click on the link for an expanded view of information corresponding to each stage.
At home individual training
Aligned with state/local public health guidelines that do not permit or recommend any size group gathering, outside of family members, in any public setting.
Goal: Hone sport-specific skills at home with individual drills that can be done in backyard or driveway. Prepare for sports participation with general cardiovascular conditioning, core work and body weight strength. Work on injury prevention activities, such as those offered in the US Lacrosse LaxFit course (free to members):
All activities should follow guidelines listed in this document.
- Wear a cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth in public settings. Athletes may wear a face mask during lacrosse activity.(see Athlete and Parent Responsibilities)
- Stay at least 6 feet away from non-household members.
- Individual training sessions in your home/residence using your own equipment.
TRAINING/ INJURY PREVENTION
- Virtual, 1v1 coaching
- Training sessions during this period should focus on skill concepts: wall ball, ground balls, shooting on empty cage.
- Individual strength and conditioning, speed and agility training resources https://www.uslacrosse.org/lax-at-home
Small Group (less than 10) Modified Lacrosse Activity/Practice
Aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for small group (under 10) gatherings in a public or private setting.
Risk: Mild to moderate
Goal: Continue conditioning with small, socially-distanced community based groups. Improve hand-eye coordination, footwork, shooting skills. Continue improving cardiovascular and lacrosse fitness in a supportive group setting for enhanced mental and physical health.
All activities should follow guidelines listed in this document.
- It is not known what the appropriate distancing is in an outdoor setting involving physical exertion (as in sport) that may mitigate the risk of transmission of COVID-19
- Establish a COVID Action Plan (CAP) to determine your pre-participation screening requirements for participants and for managing spread of COVID-19, should a participant become sick or test positive. (COVID-19 Action Plan) – see appendix for sample
- Transmission risk of COVID-19 will be greater the more time spent around others.
- Traveling across state lines or far distances to train or practice should be avoided.
- Exposure for COVID-19 transmission is higher when within 6 feet of a sick person for more than 5 minutes. Stay at least 6 feet away from non-household members. Social distancing should be followed by those in attendance, at all times.
- Required face masks for staff, coaches, and designated adults serving as hygiene support for all practices and activities. Athletes may wear a face mask during lacrosse activity. Face coverings should cover nose and mouth. (see Athlete and Parent Responsibilities)
- No huddles; no pre-or post-activity in-person meetings.
- No handshakes, high-fives, fist-bumps or skin-to-skin contact.
- Individual training sessions in your home/ residence or at an approved public outdoor facility, using your own equipment. No indoor practices or events during this stage are recommended.
- No spectators (including parents) on or near the field during lacrosse practices or activities. Parents should stay in vehicles during practices.
- Outdoor practices are recommended, over indoor practices, as outdoor venues are better ventilated than indoor venues. There are also benefits to mental health documented, from even short engagements in green spaces. Risks of developing upper respiratory tract infections have also been reported at higher rates amongst athletes in indoor settings, compared to outdoor settings.
- Full-sized or half-sized fields may be used, as long as social distancing between players can be maintained, and drill stations on the field are spaced effectively to allow for room to safely conduct small group activities, during practices.
- Before returning to practice, it’s imperative to conduct, at a minimum, a two-week period of guided athletic skills training. Introduction of a proper dynamic warm-up and drills to acclimate athletes with multi-directional movement. The adaptation phase should be completed prior to implementing sport-specific skills and is likely to change based on the frequency and age of participant.
- Focus should be getting back to practice, as more time is needed for conditioning, training in order to be ready to return to competition.
- A competition of any sort, even a small-sided competition should not be played within stage two (even if 10 players are able to gather together), as potential for injury is greater when competition is introduced.
- Coaches should make the most of the time together: communicate pre-practice with athletes and parents, strategy and more in-depth coaching all done virtually.
- Recommend that practices should not include more than 8 athletes on the field, at a time (allows for one coach and one recommended hygiene coordinator).
- Assign area that ensures adequate physical distance between each player, for them to place their equipment and water, so that they can return to during breaks in activity. Between training efforts, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet apart.
- Recommend that sessions should begin at 30 minutes in duration and following a transition period that can be evaluated every 2 weeks – can increase up to 60 minutes, allows athletes to have a graduated return that minimizes contact and allows for play that follows the 50/30/20/10 workload/progression model (see NSCA Resource document included in white paper)
- Take training level of each athlete into account and establish new baselines for each athlete. Coaches should introduce and implement use of a recovery assessment tool upon arrival and at the conclusion of each session. The first phase could consist of the following:
- Progression of linear short distance acceleration / deceleration
- Lateral movement (shuffle)
- Core training
- Low level (intensity) endurance
- Avoid contact drills or any drills that require standing in line.
- Training sessions or practices during this period should focus on skill concepts: wall ball, ground balls, shooting, passing, clearing.
- Build in appropriate time for warm-up and cool-down, based on length of session.
- Time spent training should be well-planned by coaches or team leaders, timed appropriately to reduce time spent lingering on the field and efficient. Time spent together is productive practice time.
- Individual strength and conditioning resources:
- Individual speed and agility training resources:
Medium group (less than 50) Modified intra-squad scrimmages/practices
Aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for under 10 people to gather in groups indoors at a time or up to 50 people, to gather outdoors at a time.
Goal: Once appropriate fitness levels are attained, this stage allows for increasing intensity and competitiveness in drills, including game-specific drills.
Follow all guidance provided for hygiene/distancing, facility/event and training/prevention as referenced in Stage 2, in addition to any new recommendations outlined below:
- Required face masks for staff, coaches, officials and designated adults serving as hygiene support for all practices, scrimmages, games and activities. Athletes may wear a face mask during lacrosse activities. Face coverings should cover nose and mouth.
- Group training sessions in your home/residence or at an approved public outdoor facility, using your own equipment.
TRAINING/ INJURY PREVENTION
- Competition with small or full roster sizes allowable. There remains a greater potential for injury when competition is introduced without adequate training.
- Competition options may include a 6v6 or 7v7 format to allow for fewer players.
- Recommend that practices allow for at least one coach and one recommended hygiene or safety coordinator.
- Recommend that sessions should begin at 60 minutes in duration and following a transition period that can be evaluated every 2 weeks – can increase up to 90 minutes, allowing athletes to have a graduated return that minimizes contact and allows for play that follows the 50/30/20/10 workload/progression model.
- Game play modifications for aspects of boys’ and girls’ games are recommended to minimize higher risk activities that limit extended closeness and contact between athletes. Examples of game considerations where there is extended closeness and/or contact include the draw/face-off and any positioning that would allow bodies to make contact or be positioned within 6 feet of one another. (Additional recommendations are in development)
- See Guidance for Event/ Facility Operators/ Officials (Additional recommendations are in development)
Medium group (less than 50) local competition/practices from teams within same locale
Aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for up to 50 people, to gather indoors or outdoors, at a time.
Risk: Moderate to high.
Goal: Create a more competitive environment with local groups to enhance skills while protecting athletes from risks of travel and interactions with different communities with different risk profiles.
Follow all guidance provided for hygiene/distancing, facility/event and training/prevention as referenced in Stages 2 and 3.
Larger group gatherings (more than 50) and full competition resumption
Aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for groups larger than 50.
Goal: Full return to larger competitive events, including participants from a variety of communities/regions. Events should be evaluated for safety considerations and continued diligence to mitigate virus transmission.
- There is currently no evidence or guidance on how to hold large-scale events safely at this time.
- Screening is imperfect and testing is not reasonable for everyone at a venue.
- Pro leagues and European sports clubs are relying heavily on antibody testing which is not possible in the community lacrosse setting or feasible in the current youth sports environment.
- Any planning needs to be in line with all local, state government recommendations regarding social distancing and gathering sizes.
- Mandatory CAP (COVID Action Plan) should be a part of the early tournament planning which may include screening by predetermined safety officer.
- Additional guidance on multi-team and tournament play will be provided by US Lacrosse in its Tier 2 recommendations, which will be released in June.
Things to Know
Above all, stay at home if you are feeling sick, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have a temperature above 100.3
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and equipment. Do not share equipment.
Consider small group practices and small-sided competitions to reduce the number of participants in each session.
Non-competitors should wear face coverings (optional for athletes)
Before returning to practice-type activities, it's imperative to conduct at a minimum, a two-week period of guided athletic skills training.
Use social distancing guidelines of six feet separation whenever possible. Space equipment apart on sidelines to help maintain distancing.
Make the most of the time together and pre-plan to avoid confined huddles and needless standing around.
• Recording of Return to Play Webinar (June 1)
• Return to Playing Lacrosse Advisory Group Brief #3 (May 29)
• US Lacrosse Issues Return to Play Recommendations (May 28)
• Return to Playing Lacrosse Advisory Group Brief #2 (May 15)
• Return to Playing Lacrosse Advisory Group Brief #1 (May 8)
• US Lacrosse Establishes Return to Play Advisory Group (May 4)
|David Berkoff, MD||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
|Richard Hinton, MD||Baltimore, Md.|
|Eugene Hong, MD (Co-chair)||Charleston, S.C.|
|Kari Kindschi, MD||Baltimore, Md.|
|Matt Nein, CSCS||Salisbury, Md.|
|Karen Sutton, MD||New York, N.Y.|
|Nina Walker, ATC||Chapel Hill, N.C.|
|Andrew Wolanin, PsyD||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Ann Kitt Carpenetti (Co-chair)||Eldersburg, Md.|
|Jay Dyer, CSCS||Baltimore, Md.|
|Kellie Loehr, ATC||Baltimore, Md.|
|Sean Huffman||Baltimore, Md.|
|Kim Rogers||US Lacrosse Staff|
|JP Fischer||US Lacrosse Staff|
|Andy Bilello||Corrigan Sports Enterprises|
|E.W. Bitter||Bitter Lacrosse|
|Kelly Griffin||Top of the Bay Sports|
|Michael Haight||Thinklax Tournaments|
|Keith Jacoby||Ultimate Events and Sports|
|George Leveille||Summit Lacrosse Ventures|
|Ian McGinnis||NXT Sports|
|Ashley Gersuk Murphy||Summit Lacrosse Ventures|
|Steve Sepata||Adrenaline Lacrosse|
|Charlie Shoulberg||STEPS Lacrosse|
|Jamie Varga||Raleigh LaxFest|
|Becky Wells||Ultimate Events and Sports|
|Joel Zuercher||NXT Sports|
|Erin Smith||US Lacrosse Staff|
|Brian Abbott||National Intercollegiate Lacrosse Officials Association|
|Lori Brown||T3 Lacrosse|
|J.B. Clarke||Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association|
|Patty Daley||College Women's Lacrosse Officials Association|
|Kevin Finn||True Lacrosse|
|Tamara Floruss||Jersey Girls Lacrosse Association, US Lacrosse Board|
|Bob Gross||Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation|
|Laura Jennings||Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association|
|Dan Leventhal||Bronx Lacrosse|
|Cynthia Lisa||St. Mary's (Md.) Girls' Lacrosse|
|Marc Luckett||US Lacrosse Board|
|Christianne Malone||Detroit City Lacrosse, US Lacrosse Board|
|Susie Margotta||Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association|
|Liz Robertshaw||Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association|