the science that shows why kids should be allowed to keep playing sport

According to a review of outdoor transmission of Covid-19 undertaken by academics at Canterbury Christ Church University the risk of infection is very low.

The review looked at more than 25,000 cases of infection recorded on databases from around the world and found little evidence of outdoor spread. 

One database collated by academics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that out of more than 20,000 cases, just 461 were transmitted outside. 

But the paper said that organisers of outdoor events had to consider other factors too, such as the size, density, and duration of the event.

In the case of children’s sport it would seem that all these risks could be mitigated. Most people calling for the suspension to be overturned just want kids to get a chance to run around in the cold, dark winter months ahead. 

League matches can be put on hold to avoid mixing of large numbers of children and parents can be asked to keep away from training sessions. Children can maintain social distance during pre-training pep talks and exercise in small groups.

Sessions could be shortened and clubhouses closed or changing times could be staggered. And contact tracing in the event of an outbreak would be simple, as clubs should hold all their members’ contact details.

The politics are more complicated: the government worries that its lockdown package will be shredded by exemptions if they cave in to everyone pressuring them. That’s a fair concern, but on the other hand, there is a real national consensus that children need to be prioritised in this pandemic.

That’s amplified by the fact that they are already mixing with their teammates on the field in the corridors of their schools.

And if the risks are minimal, the benefits of team sports for kids are huge. 

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