Understanding your & your household’s risk
Returning to in-person rugby activities is optional. Each participant is responsible for determining if attending any in-person rugby activity is safe for you and your household. Individuals should also consider the risk to their workplace, especially if they are a health care worker or an essential worker. Factors may change over time and they should be regularly re-assessing thier risk and the risk to their entire household and workplace.
When making that decision, consider the following aspects of COVID-19:
- Research indicates that children and adolescents are just as likely to become infected as any other age group and can spread the disease. (WHO)
- COVID-19 causes a respiratory (lungs) type infection that is mild in most of the population (approximately 80%) but can be more severe in those who are older adults or those with chronic underlying conditions.
- The known underlying health conditions that put one at greater risk for COVID-19 include diabetes, hypertension, asthma, chronic lung disease, severe heart conditions, chronic kidney disease, obesity or a weakened immune system.
Individuals with disabilities interacting with multiple care providers/supports and friends have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 due to increased exposure.
How to Prepare in advance of Return to Activity
It is highly recommended that all youth and adult players complete relevant World Rugby COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness Courses: https://playerwelfare.worldrugby.org/covid-19-courses.
Other World Rugby online courses that are strongly recommended for age-grade and adult players are:
2. Goal Setting
This is the perfect time to re-establish your goals. Even with no competition on the horizon, reflecting, remembering, and recommitting to your “why” or reason for training and competing in your sport, can help you to remain positive and motivated while adapting to current restrictions.
While the sporting calendar continues to be impacted and many major rugby events will remain uncertain, athletes at all levels are encouraged to focus on setting some internal goals – goals that are just about you and not jeopardised by things out of your control.
3. Rules of Engagement for Players
The following are mandatory steps that all players will need to complete to attend in-person rugby activities while this plan is in effect.
4. Attestation of all Participants
You must complete a COVID-19 attestation prior to every in-person rugby activity, training and matches, you plan on attending. If you are a minor, your legal parent or guardian must complete this on your behalf.
5. Safely Arrive, Ready to Go
Travel to and from rugby activities via the safest option available to you.
Attend rugby activities already dressed in the appropriate kit. No access to changerooms will be permitted, other than to use the washroom facilities.
6. Be Self-Sufficient
Players are required to fill their personal water bottles at home. No sharing of water bottles will be permitted at rugby activities, so bring enough water to sustain your activities and travel to and from home.
7. Be Considerate, Be Honest
To keep everyone safe, follow all Federal and Provincial health orders and to be honest and upfront about having any symptoms of COVID-19. Now is not the time for ‘pushing through’ any feelings of unwellness.
8. Time to Training – Gradual Progression into Activity
Detraining/deconditioning will occur after even short periods of inactivity, or reduced activity relative to previous participation. Increasing training intensity and/or volume too quickly can increase risk of injuries. Long periods of inactivity (or reduced activity relative to previous levels) can result in large decrements in strength, power and aerobic fitness. Physical training should be considered prior to the resumption of high intensity rugby activities to rebuild the foundational base of strength and power that may have been lost following reduced training volume/activity.
In an effort to mitigate this increased risk of injury, it is important to gradually incorporate general physical strengthening and aerobic/anaerobic conditioning to help build foundational levels of fitness prior to returning to high intensity activities (jumping/landing, stop/start, and change of direction). A variety of guidelines exist to aid in safe progressions of the duration (or repetitions) and intensity of each component of a physical activity or training program [Example: IOC consensus statement on load in sport and risk of injury – Part 1, 2016; CSCCa and NSCA Guidelines].
Return to training should be a gradual process that will take place over a period of several weeks (and months). This is an important step in physically preparing athletes for the rigours of rugby, and reducing their risk of injury. This does not mean that all injuries will be prevented, but a comprehensive training program can effectively prepare the body for high intensity activity when progressively and appropriately implemented.