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LA & Orange County Resume Outdoor Sports Competition

LA & Orange County Resume Outdoor Sports Competition

Resuming Outdoor Competition for Youth Athletes

California public health officials announced on Friday, February 26th new rules for youth sports. They have given the greenlight to resume outdoor competition in Orange and Los Angeles counties where COVID-19 case rates are at or below 14 people per 100,000.

Dr. David Gazzaniga, head team physician for the Los Angeles Chargers and a board-certified orthopedic surgeon is cautioning young athletes to be careful when returning to competitive sports after being sidelined for 14 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of bodies have changed quite a bit over the course of the year,” says Dr. Gazzaniga. “It’s time to be cautious.”

Coaches are also concerned about student’s health. Some football coaches will be rotating players more frequently to attempt to cutdown on fatigue, which can lead to injuries since the players are not fully conditioned as they would normally be in a routine football season. They are also planning to limit the amount of contact during the initial practices in hopes of helping to ramp players back up to competitive playing while avoiding injuries.

“No practice can truly recreate what it is like to be in a game.” Dr. Gazzaniga said. “They can’t match the speed, the intensity, the output of energy in a game. Some kids will be more ready than others so that is something to be very careful about.”

Players, coaches and fans are excited about the return to competitive sports, but it’s a good reminder to parents and athletes that straight conditioning is no replacement for game-mode play. So, let’s be careful out there.

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About Dr. David Gazzaniga

Dr. David GazzanigaDr. Gazzaniga specializes in sports medicine, including sports injuries of the shoulder, elbow, knee, and hip. After growing up in Orange County, Dr. Gazzaniga left to play football at Dartmouth College and remained to attend medical school. He then went on to complete his residency at Harvard University. Dr. Gazzaniga is currently the Head Team Physician for the Los Angeles Chargers and previously had been one of the team doctors for the New York Jets.