Fall sports make a comeback, but the rules have changed

September 2, 2021

Fall sports make a comeback, but the rules have changed

Dozens of high school football stadiums around the Northwest will welcome teams back to the turf and fans back to the stands this Labor Day weekend, making for scenes reminiscent of pre-pandemic life. But the delta variant remains a significant threat and COVID-19 precaution is still Topic No. 1 as a full slate of prep sports begins.

“We know more about prevention and we know more about how to keep ourselves safe,” says Dr. Jonathan Drezner, director of the UW Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology. “But I would still be cautious.”

The Washington State Department of Health agrees, with updated requirements for K-12 sports. Under the new rules, masks are not required for any athletes in outdoor competitions, and athletes can also play without masks in most indoor settings – but only while actively practicing or competing. Unvaccinated athletes of certain high-contact indoor sports will need twice-weekly tests for COVID-19.

Masks on the sidelines and in cheering sections are still required indoors by state order, and starting next week in King County, masks will be required at any outdoor event with 500 or more people.

“If you're crowded in the stands watching a game, I think everyone should be in a mask. That's just a safer thing to do,” says Drezner.

For Drezner, the fact that the high school sports are game-on is a win for all involved.

“We have opportunities this year that we didn't have last year in terms of fall sports, and I think those are here to stay. We need to continue to find a way to keep sports going, regardless of what the pandemic is doing.”

Credit: 
Getty Images
Category: 
YouTube

Terms of appropriate usage of file downloads

  • News reporters and news organizations may freely republish and distribute videos, still images and audio files produced by UW Medicine and the University of Washington Health Sciences schools (Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Social Work).
  • Works must be attributed/credited appropriately (for example, “UW Medicine” or “University of Washington School of Pharmacy” – as denoted in the file) and must not be used for commercial purposes.
  • These visual and audio files may not be used to exploit or misrepresent UW Medicine or the University of Washington.
  • UW Medicine often licenses still images from Thinkstock but cannot grant republishing rights. You may not republish single image files credited to Thinkstock.
  • Logos of UW Medicine and University of Washington Health Sciences schools may not be republished without explicit permission. Contact us by phone or email: 206.543.3620 or mediarelations@uw.edu