As we move through our Return to Play roadmap, Bev Analuwa – BAFA’s National Programmes Lead Therapist – covers the key points to consider for a safe return, in partnership with Sterosport.

You should consult BAFA’s latest guidance on Return to Play before you plan any activity. All updates and resources are available on the Covid-19 resources page of the BAFA website.

While BAFA affiliated clubs in England can now return to activity with immediate effect, lockdown easing continues to move at a different pace in Scotland and Wales, so please follow the advice relevant to your location.

Appoint a Covid-19 Officer

Before training resumes, a Covid-19 Officer should be appointed. This can be a coach, someone with an admin role or a team therapist. The Covid-19 Officer will need to complete the Covid-19 Awareness training.

This involves seven modules from first aid through to managing a facility.

Covid-19 Officers must upload their training certificate and be named in the GoMembership! registration system.

 Risk Assessments and Emergency Action Plans should also be in date, and updates are required to be made if there is a change in circumstances/venue. Clubs need to upload these documents onto the GoMembership! system too.

Infection control

Travelling to and from training:

If travelling by car, you should travel with members of your household/bubble. If there is no other option but to share a car with people outside your household/bubble, you should wear masks for the duration of the journey and travel with the same people each time. Use hand sanitisers on entering and exiting the car, and try to keep the windows open.

Please remember that sharing a car with people outside your household/bubble, if there is no alternative option, should only be undertaken for travelling to and from training.

Clubs can consider temperature checks when people arrive to the training facility. A high temperature is 37.8C or above (anyone with a high temperature should be told to go home and arrange a Covid-19 test). You can also consider training day screening of symptoms before arrival to training grounds.

People attending training sessions should carry their own hand sanitiser and clubs could also have sanitiser stationed on entrances to the practice field/toilets/changing rooms (if in use) and around the field. Disinfectants and cleaning products should also be stationed around the field. Regular breaks should be scheduled into training sessions for hydration, to sanitise hands and clean equipment.

Currently accessing changing rooms and indoor facilities is not permitted but when this is allowed, you should limit numbers in changing room at any given time to ensure social distancing (dependant on size). The use of changing rooms and showers should be limited but must be available for people with disabilities or special needs.

Shared equipment should be cleaned/washed thoroughly with appropriate products after each use and good hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after. You should not share personal items such as water bottles and towels.

First aid

Before returning to play it is advisable to ensure each team has a well-stocked first aid kit, to ensure that any sterile items are in date and to check that all items are in good condition. BAFA members can source sports first aid kits and first aid consumables from the Sterosport website with a discount available on all Steroplast branded products.

If teams have trainers/therapists

Therapists should have the appropriate level of PPE for training sessions: minimum level 2.

Therapists should be up to date on the latest medical framework for first aid provisions. And anyone first aid trained should have in date first aid qualification and be up to date with the resus guidelines from Resus Council UK.

Therapists are required to have in date insurance.

BAFA’s partnership with Sterosport, a new arm of Steroplast Healthcare, has been established to help sports clubs and participants to turn setbacks into comebacks. And the partnership offers BAFA members discounts on essential first aid products and sports tapes, enabling clubs to provide safe American football and keep participants moving.

With the discount code BAFA20, members can get 20% off Steroplast products at www.sterosport.co.uk.

BAFA trainers/physios use Steroplast products for the medical requirements of the national programme.

Bev’s second blog, covering injury prevention, will follow shortly.

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