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Study: High School Sports Have Not Spread COVID-19

Paul Steinbach

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health released a study Thursday suggesting the state's high school sports have not caused an increase in COVID-19 infections among athletes.

As reported by The Associated Press, researchers surveyed 207 schools that restarted fall sports in September, representing more than 30,000 athletes, more than 16,000 practices and more than 4,000 games.

The survey found 271 athletes contracted the virus overall compared with 2,318 Wisconsin children aged 14-17 over the month of September. No sports were found to have a higher incidence rate of COVID-19 overall than 14-17 year-olds. None of the cases among the athletes resulted in hospitalization or death.

Of the 209 athletes who knew where they contracted the virus, only one case was attributed to participation in sports.

All the schools reported they had a formal plan in place to reduce the risk of transmission, including monitoring for symptoms, temperature checks at home and on site, masks for staff and players off the field, social distancing, increased facility cleaning and staggered arrival and departure times for events.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association issued a news release calling the study "encouraging."

"We acknowledge that COVID-19 is a dangerous disease that continues to spread throughout the country," the researchers wrote. "It remains unclear, however, whether sport participation with risk-mitigation procedures in place increases the risk of children contracting COVID-19 and passing the virus on to other individuals."

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