School sports will be much different this fall with COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The coronavirus pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of our lives, and school sports are no exception.

The return of athletic activities raises questions about the best practices on and off the field.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL), which governs high school sports in Texas, has given the thumbs up for summer sports practices to begin Monday, with athletes being asked to wear masks whenever possible.

ABC13 spoke with Dr. Vijay Jotwani, a sports medicine doctor at Houston Methodist, for his thoughts on how athletes will most likely need to adjust on court or on the field.

"I think we are going to be focusing on small group practices as a way to help with social distancing," Dr. Vijay said. "I think wearing a mask is gonna be important at all times when it's possible."

Locker room use could be prohibited and missing practices should be expected in case of exposure.

SEE ALSO: Houston-area school districts' fall 2020 plans

"There's a little bit of nervousness about being in a higher risk situation and getting COVID-19, and there is some excitement about getting back on the field for a sport they missed," Dr. Vijay said. "I think its important that we don't share some of the equipment we might have shared before."

Dr. Jotwani says athletes should keep hand sanitizer in their gym bags along with their own water bottles in order to limit shared equipment and supplies.

Many school districts in the Houston area have announced school water fountains will be closed this fall and students will be required to have their own bottles.

The Houston ISD will not have practices or games for at least six weeks.

Dr. Jotwani says as long as you have hand sanitizer with you and you aren't touching your face with dirty hands, gloves are not necessary.

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