MIAA releases suggestions on what equipment athletes need for new-look fall season

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Are you a student-athlete getting ready to return to practice? Or a parent curious about how you should equip your child for sports this fall? The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association released suggestions on what athletes should bring as they prepare to return to practices.

As part of the broader guidelines on sports this fall, the MIAA laid out some suggestions on what athletes should be bringing with them in their gym bags.

The biggest item of note is a water bottle. The MIAA is restricting athletes to only using their own water bottles, with no community water sources allowed at practices or games. So, athletes need to answer their own hydration needs.

Face masks are also an important part of the gym bag this year. MIAA guidelines require athletes to wear masks nearly all of the time when at practices or games, so reusable facial coverings or masks are recommended in the gym bag. Toss in a few extra just to account for a mask potentially getting dirty or sweaty.

Athletes should also have some hand sanitizer available. Per the MIAA, "there will be less chance of possible cross-contamination and less time standing around waiting to use a shared hand sanitizer." The MIAA also notes to keep the sanitizer in a plastic bag to protect against leaks. Hand sanitizing is required when players enter or exit a practice or competition, and at other necessary times in between.

Adding on to the sanitizer, the MIAA is also recommending athletes bring disinfectant wipes for personal use. Locker rooms are allowed to be open for practices and games — albeit at a reduced capacity — so athletes should be ready to disinfect any surfaces they touch throughout a practice or game.

Don't forget to include medical supplies, as well. The MIAA suggests athletic braces, tape, inhalers or any other sports-medical item should be stored in an athlete's personal gym bag when not in use. Ditto an extra pair of shoes, which the MIAA also suggest should be "in a separate compartment or bag inside a gym bag" to prevent against possible cross-contamination.

There are a lot of guidelines around the return of fall sports this year, but starting with a personal checklist is one way to make sure an athlete is ready to return to a safe, healthy athletic environment in 2020.

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