re participating in and/or returning to physical activit

This guidance applies to children and adolescents who aclusive of but not limited to, organized sports and physical education class within school. Pediatricians should consider any children or adolescents who participate in any physical activity, organized or not, to fall within the context of this guidance.
This update provides an overview of ongoing repercussions from lack of athletic/physical fitness opportunities for youth, stresses the importance of high-yield risk mitigation strategies, clarifies recommendations for face mask use in sports, modifies post-illness medical clearance, and encourages people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as eligible.
Approximately 35 to 45 million youth 6 to 18 years of age participate in some form of athletics. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of the lives of children and families, including youth sport activity. As children present for health supervision visits and preparticipation physical evaluations, parents and athletes likely will ask questions about how best to ensure safety when considering a return to sports participation and physical activity. This guidance is intended for pediatricians to inform families on how to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, to others within sports and other physical activities. Pediatricians should also refer to their state regulations and guidance associated with return to sports as states are allowing practice and competition to resume at different stages.
Family Considerations
What are the benefits of returning to sports and physical activity for children and adolescents?
Re-engaging in sports and physical activity with friends has both physical and psychological health benefits for children and adolescents. Participating in sports and physical activity allows youth to improve their cardiovascular health, strength, body composition, and overall fitness. Mentally, youth may experience benefits from the increased socialization with friends and coaches as well as from the return to a more structured routine. These psychological and physical benefits can help support their developmental growth. Exercise also has immune system benefits.
The AAP strongly recommends that opportunities for children and adolescents to participate in sports and/or physical fitness activities resume as soon as SARS-CoV-2 transmission mitigation strategies are in place and local authorities approve. A detailed description of transmission mitigation strategies is outlined thoroughly within this document.

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