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The Aspen Institute Creates COVID-19 Risk Assessment Tool to Help People Return to Play

May 14 2020

The big question in all of our minds at the moment is: Are we going to be able to return to play soon?

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It’s been a few weeks since we have all been encouraged to stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing in order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and if you have kids in the house, you know it gets tough at times. It makes sense since outdoor recreation, sports participations and exercise play a great role in our mental health and general well-being.

So it's absolutely natural for us to wonder about the future and the big question in all of our minds at the moment is: Are we going to be able to return to play soon? Can we already exercise and keep playing while minimizing the prospect of contracting or transmitting the virus? 

The response is yes and no. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is still too early to get back to organized sports and group activities, but there are lower-risk forms of participation, mainly involving free play and individual training. The Aspen Institute created a general informational resource to help people (the tool should not be treated as medical or expert advice to participate in any activity), families and kids assess risk in a variety of sports and recreational activities. It's a great way to know what we can and can't do in order to stay safe while continuing to do the activities that we love most. 

The risk assessment tool segments activities into three kinds of risks ranging from lowest to highest, for both the participants and others. It provides a risk evaluation for all kinds of exercising activities like bicycling, running, skateboarding, yoga, weightlifting, and more. The tool alos asseses sports activities like football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and tennis amongst others.

Read the full guide here. 


Lowest Risk :Participate in any fun or training activities (swing drills, catch, solo toss, footwork) alone or with household members at home with your own sanitized equipment.

Medium Risk :Train or play alone or with household members at a public facility with your own sanitized equipment.

Highest Risk :Participate in any team or large group pickup play with non-household members and shared equipment.


Lowest Risk : Train or enjoy exercises at home (e.g., juggle, cone drills, footwork, passing) alone or with household members with your own equipment.

Medium Risk : Engage in any activities in public spaces alone or with household members, and with sanitized balls.

Highest Risk :Engage in team or large group pickup play with non-household members and shared balls.


Lowest Risk: Dribble, shoot and participate in other ballhandling drills or activities alone or with household members at home in driveway or backyard with your own sanitized equipment sanitized equipment.

Medium Risk :Engage in the above activities with household members at indoor or outdoor public court, making sure to sanitize any commonly shared surfaces such as gate handles, benches, basketballs, etc.

Highest Risk: Participate in any team or large group pickup play with non-household members and shared balls.


Lowest Risk :Train or engage in fun activities (e.g., catch, footwork, sprints) alone or with household member at home using own sanitized equipment.

Medium Risk :Same as the below, but in public spaces.

Highest Risk :Participate in any organized team or large group pickup play with non-household members and shared equipment (better if gloves are on).


Lowest Risk:Perform individual skill development activities (general fitness, strength training, flexibility/holds, tumbling) at home (backyard, inside home), alone or with household members.

Medium Risk: Perform individual skill development activities in public outdoor spaces alone, with household members or with non-household members, maintaining recommended physical distancing; sanitize any personal equipment.

Highest Risk: Perform team or group activities using shared equipment in gym; not sanitizing personal or shared equipment; not following recommended physical distancing guidelines; share chalk.

Check more sports and activities here

Download Return to Play Covid19 Risk Assessment Tool. 


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