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UPMC creates playbook for return of sports

Officials at UPMC Susquehanna have designed a playbook for local athletic programs to return to sports this fall.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Officials at UPMC Susquehanna have designed a playbook for local school athletic programs to return to play in the fall. The playbook recommends health and safety strategies for athletic programs.

"The playbook gives some framework to make sure you're thinking about social distancing, masking, and use and wear of sports equipment," said Seth Kinley, the Director of Sports Medicine.

"The playbook is there to give us guidelines to make sure what we're doing is making sure that our athletes are safe and ultimately that's our goal," said Kaitlin Bottorf, an athletic trainer.

UPMC is working with 20 different athletic programs in the Susquehanna region. Each school has a UPMC athletic trainer working with athletic directors and teams.

"Working with my athletic director, my coaches, and the superintendent and working together have to make sure our coaches are following the playbook and to make sure we are doing what's best for our student athletes."

With high school football season just two months away, football players will need to begin working out and practicing again. Athletic trainers say there is a lot they have to do behind the scenes to make that happen.

"Social distancing, washing hands, making sure that they are using hand sanitizers. I know my superintendent just ordered a bunch of thermometers and hand sanitizers to make sure we are doing that. We are screening kids and taking temperatures before they come into practice."

Earlier this week, Governor Tom Wolf issue guidelines for high school sports to be able to return in the fall. UPMC officials say most of those guidelines are highlighted in their playbook.

"I had a chance to review those and review our playbook and I don't see anything in there that's conflicting information, I think its additive to each other and I think we are in good shape to start rolling those plans out to the schools, the coaches, and the parents to all think about."

UPMC officials and trainers say they are confident that local schools will have a football season and other sports too if their recommended guidelines are followed.