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When can professional sport recommence safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Risk assessment and factors to consider
  1. Sean Carmody1,2,
  2. Andrew Murray1,3,4,
  3. Mariya Borodina5,
  4. Vincent Gouttebarge6,7,
  5. Andrew Massey8
  1. 1 Medical and Science Department, PGA European Tour Golf, Various, Various
  2. 2 Medical Department, Queens Park Rangers Football and Athletic Club, London, United Kingdom
  3. 3 Sport and Exercise, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  4. 4 Medical Department, Scottish Rugby Union, Scotland, United Kingdom
  5. 5 Academy of Postgraduate Education under FSBU FSCC, Federal Medical-Biological Agency of Russia, Russia
  6. 6 Football Players Worldwide (FIFPro), Hoofddorp, Netherlands
  7. 7 Amsterdam UMC, Univ of Amsterdam, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  8. 8 FIFA, Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sean Carmody, Medical and Science Department., PGA European Tour Golf., Various., Various.; seanocearmaide{at}

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will have, profound effects on every person on earth. Measures advocated by the WHO and put in place by national governments, businesses and individuals will save millions of lives, but current movement restrictions (ie, various degrees of lockdown) cannot continue indefinitely. The activity restrictions imposed by governments are designed to reduce human-to-human transmission; they buy time and allow international collaboration between governments and internally to build and allocate the resources and systems to

  1. Test: every suspected case where testing is merited and available while having effective prevention strategies in place.

  2. Trace: follow up all confirmed cases of COVID-19 and contact trace every relevant contact to identify and cut off transmission.

  3. Treat: manage all cases effectively, with adequate intensive care unit capacity, ventilators and staff.

Rightly, professional sport has been placed on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO (#BeActive) and many governments continue to promote certain types of moderate physical activity for the benefits it confers on the immune system and physical and mental health.1–4 Sport has health, social and economic benefits for individuals and society, and when the COVID-19 pandemic is better ‘controlled’, it may be appropriate to reintroduce community sport and professional sport. In this editorial, we opine on what needs to be in place for professional sport to recommence.

Emerging from lockdown: public health

The relaxation of movement/activity/business restrictions is likely to happen over a gradual period, and time frames will differ across nations and even within nations. The following is expected5:

  • Lockdowns will be lifted strategically and in a stepwise fashion; the effects of …

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