Saudi Journal of Sports Medicine

SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27--28

COVID-19 and conduction of sports event: Risk assessment and risk mitigation


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in significant amounts of interruption in the different domains of life in all the affected nations. Owing to the pandemic and due to the fear of the emergence of a new chain of transmission, most of the planned events or religious events have been canceled or deferred, and the same stands true even with sports events. However, gradually, the sports events have started to happen again in some of the settings; nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that most of these sports events include mass gathering, and thus, it becomes a must to take appropriate precautions to avoid any outbreaks of the disease. In general, it is expected that all the organizing bodies should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the sports event. In conclusion, ensuring the safety of the participants, audience, and the general population has to be given the utmost priority while planning any sports event in the current times of COVID-19 pandemic. The need of the hour is to perform a thorough risk assessment and take a decision based on the prevailing risk, the quality of risk mitigation measures, and the effectiveness of the risk communication system.



How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 and conduction of sports event: Risk assessment and risk mitigation.Saudi J Sports Med 2020;20:27-28


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. COVID-19 and conduction of sports event: Risk assessment and risk mitigation. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 28 ];20:27-28
Available from: https://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2020/20/1/27/298434


Full Text

[INLINE:1]

 Introduction



The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in significant amounts of interruption in the different domains of life in all the affected nations. From the caseload perspective, as on August 16, 2020, a total of 21.2 million COVID-19 cases and 761,000 deaths have been reported to the infection and the numbers continue to rise with each day.[1] Owing to the pandemic and due to the fear of the emergence of a new chain of transmission, most of the planned events or religious events have been canceled or deferred, and the same stands true even with sports events (viz. deferred Olympics and Cricket World Cup).[2]

 Conduction of Sports Events Risk Assessment



However, gradually, the sports events have started to happen again in some of the settings; nevertheless, we have to keep in mind that most of these sports events include mass gathering, and thus, it becomes a must to take appropriate precautions to avoid any outbreaks of the disease.[3],[4] In general, it is expected that all the organizing bodies should conduct a comprehensive risk assessment of the sports event, which in turn comprises risk evaluation, mitigation, and timely communication about the same to the general population. Moreover, the organizers should be aware about the situation of the disease in the nation and the other developments pertaining to the outbreak, such as disease dynamics and risk profile.[3],[4]

The risk assessment has to be performed in collaboration with the local public health authorities by the experts and should always consider the presence of mitigation measures.[4],[5] The World Health Organization has developed a risk assessment tool for the conduction of sports events, which provides the overall risk (viz. very low, low, moderate, high, or very high) and helps the organizers to make an evidence-based decision.[5] The tool has a component of decision tree which is a flowchart and guides the event organizers in the process of risk assessment. It is extremely important to communicate with the staff, participants, and the general population about the overall risk.[5] Further, we have to ensure that the process of risk assessment is reviewed and repeated periodically in the planning stage in accordance with updated guidelines.

 Risk Mitigation



Moreover, due consideration has to be given toward the place where a sports event is to be organized, presence of international participation, indoor or outdoor event, in a single or multiple venues, and potential risk of risk-taking behavior.[3],[4],[5] Similarly, the organizers should explore the possibility of bringing out modifications in the conduct of event such as not allowing spectators, not including participants from other nations, possibility of conducting event outdoors and in a single venue (to reduce the possibility of travel), cancellation of sports which involve contacts, and strengthening of the monitoring and incident reporting process.[3],[4],[5]

At the same time, the organizers should strengthen the mitigation measures to minimize the overall risk of spread of the infection. This includes improving the infection prevention and control measures, establishing facilities to promote frequent handwashing, and maintenance of social distancing.[5],[6] However, these mitigation measures can only minimize the risk, and no way can eliminate the overall threat. All the nations wherein community transmission is prevailing should take the call of postponing the sports event to reduce the possibility of mass gatherings.[5]

 Conclusion



In conclusion, ensuring the safety of the participants, audience, and the general population has to be given the utmost priority while planning any sports event in the current times of COVID-19 pandemic. The need of the hour is to perform a thorough risk assessment and take a decision based on the prevailing risk, the quality of risk mitigation measures, and the effectiveness of the risk communication system.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-Weekly Epidemiological Update 1; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200626-covid-19-sitrep-158.pdf?sfvrsn=1d1aae8a_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 19].
2International Olympic Committee. Joint Statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; 2020. Available from: https://www.olympic.org/news/joint-statement-from-the-international- olympic-committee-and-the-tokyo-2020-organising-committee. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 19].
3Hughes D. In the frame, road map for Australian sport on an uncertain journey through COVID-19. J Sci Med Sport 2020;23:636-8.
4Carmody S, Murray A, Borodina M, Gouttebarge V, Massey A. When can professional sport recommence safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Risk assessment and factors to consider. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:946-8.
5World Health Organization. WHO Mass gathering COVID-19 Risk Assessment Tool – Sports Events; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/10665-333187. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 13].
6World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.