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COVID-19 Resources for Transition Periods and Return to Activity

Updated July 7, 2020

This information is provided for primary athletics health care providers, strength and conditioning professionals, and athletics health care administrators, and includes content excerpted from guidance originally developed by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Prevention and Performance Subcommittee that was utilized for the purpose of informing the work of committees within the NCAA governance structure in all three divisions. 

As member institutions begin to plan for a return to organized activity for fall sports, questions have emerged about the structure of activity during identified transition and acclimatization periods, COVID-19 has undoubtedly increased the complexities, and will continue to impact health and safety considerations, related to return to athletics and preseason activities. Traditional transition and acclimatization considerations (e.g., cardiovascular conditioning, heat, altitude) are still very relevant and, when coupled with the loss of spring and summer activities and other physical and non-physical COVID-related impacts, they can create complex re-entry challenges for student-athletes.

Recommendation 3 of the NCAA’s Interassociation Recommendations: Preventing Catastrophic Injury and Death in Collegiate Athletes (Catastrophic Materials) speaks to the vulnerability of student-athletes during the first week of activity of a transition period in training and the importance of establishing a 7-10 day initial transition period during which student-athletes are afforded the time to properly progress through the physiologic and environmental stresses placed upon them as they return to required activities.

In addition to the NCAA guidance that can be found on the NCAA Coronavirus Resource Page, various evidence-based resources have been published by professional organizations in the sports medicine and strength and conditioning space. These resources may help inform member schools as they design and implement assessment and evaluation activities, and physical conditioning and practice sessions during these COVID-impacted transitions periods. Institutions are encouraged to leverage all available resources and information as they plan for return to campus and athletics activities and a non-exhaustive list of some of these materials is included for reference below:

NOTE: The above list is not exhaustive. The links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the NCAA, and the NCAA bears no responsibility for the accuracy, effectiveness or legal status of the content of these external sites or for that of subsequent links. Please contact the individual site owners for answers to questions regarding content.