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SURF CUP SPORTS’ STUDY SHOWS LOW RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION IN YOUTH SOCCER

New Study Finds Limited Coronavirus Transmission During Youth Soccer Activities In San Diego


While the CDC warns that children are at risk for COVID-19, new study offers path forward for San Diego County to safely reopen outdoor youth sports. Out of 143,000 soccer sessions analyzed, the rate was .01% with all new confined cases traced to transmission outside the youth soccer group.

Today Surf Cup Sports has released the results of an eight-week study analyzing the safety of outdoor youth soccer in San Diego County.

We want the data and the science to drive safe decision for our kids.

Brian Enge, CEO, Surf Cup Sports
The county’s top youth soccer clubs, led by Surf Cup Sports, have taken the lead on studying the impact of COVID-19 transmission within outdoor youth sports – and specifically focused on youth soccer.

Six youth soccer clubs in San Diego County participated in this study involving 6,560 players and 263 coaches.
The youth soccer clubs are located across the county from Oceanside to Chula Vista. Over the course of eight weeks 143,000 soccer sessions were analyzed and only 15 (.01%) confirmed cases were recorded.

The confirmed case of the Coronavirus COVID-19 identified in the study were all traced to transmissions from outside of the soccer sessions, and in several instanced were from older siblings who did not participate in soccer.



“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dramatic toll on the physical and mental health of kids across San Diego County,” said Brian Enge, CEO, Surf Cup Sports.

“The positive value of youth sports has never been more crystal clear and this study indicates that when following safety guidelines correctly, a safe environment for outdoor youth sports is possible,” said Enge.

Eight weeks ago, on June 12, youth soccer clubs across San Diego County received the ability to Return To Play and the study was initiated Day One. Players were kept in consistent pods of 12 players which did not intermix with other pods of 12 players.

With respect to soccer, early data suggests that the time spent in close proximity to other players during a soccer game is limited and falls far below the duration that is felt to represent sufficient exposure to result in viral transmission.



According to CDC, “Recommendations vary on the length of time of exposure, but 15 minutes of close exposure can be used as an operational definition. Brief interactions are less likely to result in transmission; however, symptoms and the type of interaction (e.g., did the infected person cough directly into the face of the exposed individual) remain important.”

Youth soccer specific research and testing will continue, but initial results show promising signs that outdoor sports in large areas are safe for kids 6-18.

Surf Cup Sports
“We are safely ready for the next step in the County’s Return to Play planning. Training has presented a 0.0104% transmission and it’s our ask to add the variable of controlled game play to the current, safe environment we’ve created for our players,” said Josh Henderson, National Technical Director, San Diego Surf Soccer Club.

“Above all else it is our collective responsibility to keep our kids safe. Based on the lack of cases within the club, we believe we are doing the right thing with the kids.”

Josh Henderson, National Technical Director, San Diego Surf Soccer Club
“We’ve listened to the kids, parents and coaches and studied the data to make collective decisions on the safety of our kids,” said Henderson.


SURF CUP SPORTS YOUTH SOCCER STUDY


INTRODUCTION:


As San Diego continues in Phase 1 of Reopening, activity and game play limited due to the increase and growing number of COVID-19 cases in San Diego, soccer players are being negatively mentally impacted without competition.

With clearance to return to play on June 12, youth soccer clubs around San Diego County have been hosting onsite training sessions for teams weekly.

With respect to soccer, early data seems to suggest that the time spent in close proximity to other players during a soccer game is limited and falls far below the duration that is felt to represent sufficient exposure to result in viral transmission.

As research and testing continue to provide clearer answers, it’s apparent that outdoor sports in large areas will almost certainly have a lower transmission risk than indoor activities in confined spaces.



METHODS:

We identified 6 top clubs (San Diego Surf Soccer Club, Oceanside Breakers, Carlsbad City, Albion Soccer Club, Rebels Soccer Club and San Diego Soccer Club) that represent the entirety of San Diego County, from Oceanside to Chula Vista. From there, we collected training data from an 8-week period that encompassed total players, sessions and COVID positive cases to track transmission.

RESULTS:

Together, the San Diego soccer community had 6,560 players and 263 coaches participate in over 143,000 soccer sessions with only 15 confirmed cases, all transmitted outside of these soccer sessions – resulting in a .0104% positive rate per session.

SAN DIEGO YOUTH OUTDOOR SOCCER COVID TRANSMISSION STUDY

San Diego Youth Sports Study Dates: June 12 to Aug 12



*No known transmissions have occurred via the soccer sessions and all Positive tests have been associated with external transmission (primarily from siblings)


CONCLUSION:


According to Surf Cup Sports, the data tells a clear story – kids playing soccer outdoors in a safe environment are not contracting or transmitting COVID at a material rate.

When you add this data to the following recently released reports from the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) and the CDC – our argument becomes even stronger.

Since May, 2020:

  • Physical activity levels dropped by an alarming 50% compared to pre-COVID levels. If extrapolated to the rest of the country, this could be the least physically active that children have ever been.
  • Following the widespread cancelation of school and spring sports, 33% (up from 10%) 38% reported moderate to severe depression and 35% reported moderate to severe anxiety.
  • Females have been particularly affected, with 40% and 45% reporting moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety, respectively.
  • National CDC data confirms the risk of hospitalization for children aged <18 years is extremely low. The CDC’s July 25th report on Morbidity and Mortality cites a total of 576 hospitalizations for kids under 18 since March 1, 2020

DISCUSSION:

Based upon the finding of this study, Surf Cup Sports is urging San Diego City and County officials to allow Surf and the partner clubs which participated in the survey to create a pilot program to take the next step. Additional clubs wishing to participate in the pilot program are welcome, according to Enge, however the total number of youth soccer clubs must remain small enough to gain city and county approval.

“We aren’t trying to exclude anyone, we want all kids to be able to play soccer,” said Enge. “However, we recognize that this pilot may require a smaller subset to create the forward movement that allows everyone to play.”

“Our study shows we’ve created a safe environment for outdoor sports in San Diego County, and we are asking for the City and Country to follow the Scientific Method and allow us to carefully add the variable of game play in a controlled pilot setting,” said Enge. “We’ve already presented the pilot to the City and are waiting for a response. We aren’t pushing to open the flood gates on competitive play, rather to allow this group of clubs to take the next step, study the impacts of that step and then move forward accordingly.”

Reference: ECNL Understanding the Impacts of Inactivity on Youth Athletes Report

Read: MAN CITY CUP 2020 CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC and CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 IMPACTING SOCCER


The post SURF CUP SPORTS’ STUDY SHOWS LOW RISK OF COVID-19 TRANSMISSION IN YOUTH SOCCER appeared first on SoccerToday.

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