In addition to the below COVID-19 Protocols, HEADstrong follows all USA Lacrosse health and safety guidelines. Those are available HERE.
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.
HEADstrong Lacrosse will follow the rules mandated by the CDC and local governments. All HEADstrong coaches will continue to take player temperatures prior to practice and will disinfect all equipment and training tools before and after practices. Players will be required to arrive on site fully dressed for practice and must wear masks to and from the field. Coaches will create spaces around the field where players can drop off equipment and water separated by a distance of 6 feet. Coaches will develop plans to help promote safe distancing of players during practices.
Stage 1 is for at-home training when aligned with state/local public health guidelines that do not RETURN TO PLAY “Practice” PROTOCOL permit or recommend any-size group gathering, outside of family members, in any public setting.
Stage 2 is for small group (less than 10) modified lacrosse activity or practice at an outdoor facility and is aligned with state/ local public health guidelines that allow for small (under 10) group gatherings in a public or private setting. Social distancing requirements are in effect for all aspects of the training.
Stage 3 is for medium group (less than 50) modified intra-squad scrimmages/ practices with limited closeness and contact at an outdoor facility. This stage is 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.
Stage 4 is for medium group (less than 50) local competition/practices from teams within the same locale, with limited closeness and contact at outdoor or indoor facilities and no multi-team events This is aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for up to 50 people gathering indoors or outdoors.
Stage 5 is for larger group gatherings (more than 50) and full competition resumption with multiple teams from varied geographic areas. This is aligned with state/local public health guidelines that allow for groups larger than 50.
Watch for Symptoms
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
● Fever or chills
● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
● Muscle or body aches
● New loss of taste or smell
● Sore throat
● Congestion or runny nose
● Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
● Trouble breathing
● Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
● New confusion
● Inability to wake or stay awake
● Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for
someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes in one day). An
infected person can spread SARS-CoV-2 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date), until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
Public Health Recommendations:
Except in certain circumstances, people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should quarantine. However, the following people with recent exposure may NOT need to quarantine:
● People who have been fully vaccinated
● People who were previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last three months
A number of factors can influence COVID-19 exposure risk, including type, proximity, and duration of exposure, environmental factors (for example, crowding), vaccination status, prior COVID-19 infection, and mask use.
Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step that people can take to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. However, the type of masks used, and whether or not they are used consistently and correctly varies throughout the general population. Therefore, mask use is not considered when determining COVID-19 exposure and the definition of a close contact during case investigation and contact tracing, regardless of whether the person diagnosed with and/or the person exposed to COVID-19 was wearing a mask. (Note: Exposure risk in the
healthcare setting is determined separately and outlined in CDC guidance).
Guidance and Responsibilities for Program Leaders
● Every athlete, coach and staff should self symptom-screen prior to each activity.
● Ensure players, coaches and staff are symptom free and feel well.
● Players, coaches or staff with any COVID-19 symptoms must be at least 14 days postpositive test, with a minimum of 72 hours symptoms free and negative repeat COVID-19 test in order to return.
● Individuals require clearance from a licensed medical professional before return to play granted.
● Should appoint someone to serve as designated safety or hygiene manager, keeping documentation for contact tracing/legal if needed. Follow Emergency Action Plan and COVID-19 Safety Protocol.
● Programs may also have their safety or hygiene manager conduct contact-less temperature screens on-site, before athletes or any adults who enter practice or game field. (see prescreen wellness form)
● Ensure adequate space between the water and personal equipment of each player so that physical distancing of 6 feet can be maintained during breaks.
● If there is a dispute that occurs between the hygiene/safety coordinator on-site at a practice and a participant (i.e: if an athlete displays any symptoms on-site and is pre-screened and cleared by parent to participate), it is the ultimate responsibility of the on-site hygiene/safety coordinator to determine if the participant (athlete/coach) is cleared to play.
● Per CDC guidelines vaccinated coaches and staff will not be required to wear masks during outdoor activities
○ Non-Vaccinated coaches and staff will be required to wear masks.
Guidance and Responsibilities for Parents and Athletes
● Do not bring your child if you or they are sick or recently sick.
● Complete screening questions prior to play.
● There is limited research currently available that determines the risk/benefit for athletes to wear cloth face masks while participating in outdoor or indoor athletic activities. CDC has provided guidance on the use of face masks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
● Wipe down equipment before and after participation. CDC has provided cleaning and disinfecting guidance:
● Cooperate with needs/asks of coaches/organizers
● Educate children about need for social distancing and what they should do to protect themselves (hand washing, not touching others, keeping 6-feet apart)
● Monitor child for any symptoms of anxiety, depression and distress (i.e. not sleeping, eating, stomach aches before practice) and refer to a mental health professional.
Prescreen Wellness Form
1. Are you feeling well today?
2. In the past 24 hours have you experienced any of these symptoms?
● Fever or chills
● Cough Shortness of breath
● Difficulty breathing
● Fatigue Muscle or body aches
● New loss of taste or smell
● Sore throat
● Congestion or runny nose
● Nausea or vomiting
3. Was your temperature today above 100.3 degree Fahrenheit?
4. In the past 14 days have you had close contact with a person who is known to have or is suspected of having COVID-19?
5. In the past 14 days, have you been tested or diagnosed with COVID-19?
COVID-19 SAFETY PROTOCOL
● All participants MUST stay at home if they are feeling sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and equipment and do not share equipment, water bottles or towels. HLC Coaches must disinfect all equipment used before and after practices.
● Face masks are required for non-vaccinated staff, coaches, officials and designated adults serving as hygiene support for all practices and activities.
● Players will not be required to wear masks during practices. There is limited research currently available that determines the risk/benefit for athletes to wear cloth face masks while participating in outdoor or indoor athletic activities. CDC has provided guidance on the use of face masks: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
● Players are encouraged to wear masks to and from the practice field.
● Parents may watch practices but are not permitted on the playing surfaces.
● Players do not need to arrive on site fully dressed and ready. They may take on and off equipment in designated areas where a 6 foot distance can be maintained.
● All players must provide their own water for practices. Players, coaches and staff are not permitted to share water bottles.
EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN
1. Send home any person who is sick whether or not they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. If a player or coach is experiencing any symptoms or feels sick they are required to stay home,
2. If a player or coach is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify other players or coaches who may have been exposed to them. HEADstrong Lacrosse Club will notify potentially exposed players/coaches of the diagnosis and the need to contact their health care providers. HEADstrong Lacrosse Club will follow all requirements to notify local or state health authorities when players/coaches are diagnosed with COVID-19.
3. Protect the privacy of the diagnosed. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires the confidentiality of employees’ medical
information, and employers may not disclose the identity of the employee diagnosed with COVID-19. Employers are also required to maintain the privacy of any health information they gather related to an employee’s medical condition or their symptoms, and any such
documentation should be kept in a private health folder with limited access by only critical human resource staff.
4. Do not permit the diagnosed player/coach to return to play until they have been cleared by a physician.
5. Continue to require players/coaches to monitor themselves for symptoms and stay home if they exhibit any symptoms.
Thunder and Lightning Safety Procedure
Late spring and summer are perfect months for athletic activities associated with summer weather. These warmer months also give rise to ideal atmospheric conditions that generate thunderstorms. As spring and summer sports seasons get underway, it is important to review the lightning safety policies and procedures that protect athletes and spectators.
While the National Weather Service estimates that a person living in the United States has only a 1:10,000 risk of being struck by lightning by the time he or she reaches 80 years of age, lightning consistently ranks as one of the top three causes of storm-related deaths. On average, 30 people are killed by lightning annually, with hundreds more injured, some with permanent neurological injuries. In order to reduce the risk of lightning-related casualties, it is important to ensure that athletes, coaches and event administrators are appropriately educated regarding best practices for lightning safety.
A typical lightning strike may be anywhere from 20 million to 1 billion volts with an approximate temperature of 8,000°C. Lightning deaths and injuries from direct lightning strikes are rare, and injuries are most commonly the result of the current radiating out from the ground strike. While nearly 90 percent of cloud-toground strikes occur within the region of falling rain, most of the remaining 10 percent of strikes occur up to 10 miles from rainy areas. Though very rare, lightning is capable of striking even greater distances from the main thunderstorm.
Given the variation in distance that lightning may travel and the deadly force with which it strikes, the importance of keeping athletes and spectators safe through education and appropriate event planning cannot be understated. Postponing contests or practices should be strongly considered when a thunderstorm is predicted. In the event of an unexpected or fast-moving thunderstorm, appropriate steps should be taken to remove participants from the threat of lightning.
When thunder is heard or lightning is reported within six miles of the outdoor event, everyone should be in a designated safe area. Consideration for the size of the event and the number of people who will have to be evacuated should be given when making the decision to suspend activity, erring on initiating evacuation sooner when larger crowds are in attendance or when a longer time is needed to get to a safe place. Activities should not be resumed until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder or lightning flash.
Dependable and working communication with all in attendance must be maintained during an event to allow for timely notification of potential weather-related danger, instructions for prompt evacuation to designated safe areas and safe resumption of activities. Safety information regarding designated safe locations and evacuation protocols should be made readily available for everyone in attendance.
A safe lightning shelter is often not a place otherwise considered a “shelter.” Picnic, park, sun and bus shelters as well as storage sheds are not safe locations. Other locations with open areas including tents, dugouts, gazebos, refreshment stands, screened porches, press boxes and open garages are not safe shelters. Tall objects, such as trees or poles, elevated areas, and bodies of water must also be avoided. Once inside a safe place, people should stay away from plumbing, electrical equipment and corded phones.
If an appropriate safe place is not available, a hard-top vehicle with the windows closed and buses are safer than open areas. If no safe place can be found, people should seek out the next best option. While there is no absolutely safe place outdoors when lightning is in the area, the risk of being struck may be slightly lessened by seeking out low areas such as valleys, which are slightly less dangerous than higher elevations. In a large group of trees, spreading out within 50 feet or more between individuals will reduce the likelihood of multiple casualties caused by a single lightning strike.
If someone is struck by lightning, the individual needs immediate medical attention. Call 911 to activate emergency services. Initiation of CPR or use of an AED may be necessary. After assessing the safety of the scene, move the victim to a safe place and monitor the individual’s condition until help arrives.
While there are several weather-monitoring apps and devices available for use, the use of these programs should not override guidelines to seek a safe place when thunder is heard or lightning is seen. Phone apps, in particular, may lack accuracy as to the location of each strike and may also have a delay of several minutes from when the strike occurs until it is displayed. They also should not be substituted for the 30-minute guideline designating when it is safe to resume activities after lightning has last been detected.
While rare, deaths and injuries from lightning strikes are preventable. The risk of lightning-related injuries and casualties can be lessened through developing a lightning safety plan and educating those managing or participating in outdoor events. Appreciating the danger lightning poses and encouraging safe and responsible behavior can help ensure that everyone continues to safely enjoy recreation and sports outdoors.