Covid-19 Safety Recommendations for Platform Tennis

As of May 18, 2020

Platform tennis is inherently a social game, not only because of the small size of the court but also because of the tradition of after match socializing in the hut. Thus, it is a sport that does come with risks in this time of the pandemic known as Covid-19.

Any time you leave home at this time, there is some level of risk. Each person must assess the risk based on their vulnerability and the vulnerability of members of their household. If you have any concerns, please check with the Center for Disease Control and your local regional/state health guidelines.

The APTA strongly recommends that all state and local guidelines be followed. If you are going to play you should adjust your normal paddle routines to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. We have put the below recommendations together with the assistance of medical professionals who play platform tennis.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will likely update these recommendations as we approach the start of the league and tournament season.

We recommend that you DO NOT play IF you:

  1. are not feeling well, have a fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of smell or taste, painful discoloration of toes, unusual headache and fatigue.
  2. are a player at high risk of a poor outcome should you contract COVID, we recommend that you NOT participate in the sport until a vaccine is available or the pandemic has resolved. High risk players include: seniors, anyone with heart disease, lung disease, hypertension, diabetes, or obesity (BMI> 30 see BMI calculator online to determine your BMI) and anyone who is immunosuppressed either due to immune deficiencies or medications known to suppress the immune system. Those players who have a person in their household who is at high risk also should NOT play.
  3. have had close contact with anyone who has been known to have been sick with COVID at the time you were in contact with them within the past two weeks.

We recommend that you follow your local, city and state regulations, but IF YOU DO PLAY, we recommend the following guidelines:

  1. Singles is the safest activity.
  2. If you elect to play doubles, playing with members of your own household is advised. Limiting play to members of a single club is preferable to inter-club play.
  3. Bring a personal bottle of hand sanitizer with you inside the court to use to sterilize your hands before, during and after play is over.
  4. Do not touch the door of the court with your hand. Use your paddle to open and close the door.
  5. Every player should bring their own ball and use that ball while serving.
  6. Use your paddle to return their ball to the other players. Only touch your ball.
  7. Every player should bring their own water bottle. When going to get a drink be sure to maintain social distancing.
  8. Towels should only be touched after using hand sanitizer especially if being used to wipe your face. Otherwise contamination from your hands will be transferred to your towel and then to your face.
  9. Gloves are not recommended as they provide a false sense of security and do nothing to stop the spread of potentially infected secretions from the glove to your paddle, to your face, to the ball, etc.
  10. Avoid touching screens or the net.
  11. Maintain as much distance as possible between you and the other players at all times. i.e. no fist bumps, high-fives, close strategy discussions, etc.
  12. Unless the sun is a real issue, don’t change sides. If you must change sides, each team should move to the opposite side of the net from the other team and pass one player at a time.
  13. Wear a mask with ties that has two ties that tie behind your head and neck (numerous options can be purchased on-line for nominal price). When playing, it is okay to keep the mask around your neck. However, if you change sides, lift the mask to cover your face.
  14. Until you sterilize your hands with hand sanitizer consider your hands to be contaminated. Consider whatever you have touched with your hands to be contaminated (i.e. your paddle, your ball, your cap, your clothes, your mask, your water bottle, etc). DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE WITH YOUR HAND EVER. If you need to wipe sweat off your face, or scratch your face, use the upper part of your sleeve. Do not ever touch that portion of your sleeve with your hands or anything that should be considered contaminated (see above). Alternatively, you can sterilize your hand with hand sanitizer and then scratch your face etc.
  15. Absolutely no spitting or nose blowing on the court!
  16. If you use the bathroom in the hut or club house, consider every surface to be contaminated. i.e. every doorknob, handle, toilet seat, flush handle etc. Wash your hands after you are finished and then use a paper towel to open any subsequent doors so you do not touch any of these surfaces with your hand. Fold the paper towel so the dirty surface is folded inward on itself and then throw it out. It is highly recommended that you shower at home.
  17. After playing, throw the ball away and put your contaminated paddle and water bottle into your bag to be sterilized by either washing with soap and water or alcohol once you get home. Head gear should not be used again for at least five days and should be stored in a location that will not contaminate other objects that you may touch within the next five days.
  18. Socializing in the hut increases the risk dramatically. Huts should be off limits for socializing.
  19. Make sure your hands are sterile before touching the handle on your car door.
  20. When you arrive home, take off all your clothes and either wash them or do not reuse them for at least three days. If you touch your clothes with your hands make sure you wash your hands before touching anything else in your home.
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