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Athletes: How to stay safe and well

Date: March 19, 2020

Category: Athletics

IBSA understands that for athletes, this may be an upsetting and unsettling time.

Your routines have been disturbed, your daily movements might have been restricted (depending on where you live), and importantly to you as an athlete – your training and competition schedules are likely to have been disrupted.

Although this is unchartered territory for all of us, there are steps you can take as athletes to help your physical and mental health and well-being:

  • Wash your hands! This is vital for everyone, but even more so for athletes with visual impairments who may not be able to avoid touching surfaces. As per the World Health Organisation advice, this needs to ideally be with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based rub on your hands.


  • Maintain social distancing – Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.


  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth – Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.


  • Practice respiratory hygiene – Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.


  • Stay home if you feel unwell – If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.


  • Eat well – Just because you may be restricted to being indoors more does not necessarily mean your diet needs to change dramatically. Try and stick to a healthy diet as far as possible.


  • Keep exercising – If this is practical where you live, finding ways to do something like mini circuits indoors (safely!) will help to maintain your strength and fitness.


  • Stay connected – If laws in your country mean that you have to undertake social isolation, use other means such as video calling and social media to stay in touch with teammates, friends, and colleagues. This is a tough time for everyone so make sure you share how you are feeling with people you care about.


  • Visualise your future tournaments – Eventually normal sporting activity will resume, and by focusing on your sporting return this will help you to stay positive during these difficult days.

You can also check the World Health Organisation website for further advice, frequently asked questions, myth-busters and more.

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