Friday, September 18, 2009

Avoiding illness

Your team has a backup plan just in case, but they really don't want to be missing a key team member in competition. How can the team stay healthy to avoid last-minute substitutions? The following are some general principles:

  • Stay home if you're sick.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Sneeze into the bend of your arm.

How can a coach help?

  • Provide easy access to hand washing or sanitizing.

  • Have the team wash or sanitize their hands before every spontaneous practice. For problems that are hands-on or that have a speed-limiting token, they'll avoid spreading germs by handling objects. For those problems that don't require handling objects, you won't be implying it ahead of time by skipping the hand washing.

  • Keep a box of tissues handy. Discard used tissues properly.

  • Send sick team members (or coaches) home. Until they're able to leave, keep the sick member at least 6 feet away from others. If you're sick, you stay home.

  • Reinforce healthy habits with your team. You may be able to reinforce this message using some of the same materials the school uses to teach healthy habits. You can also use the Public Service Announcements on The following is one of the Public Service Announcements:

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