Return to sport post-COVID 19


Sport has been massively affected by COVID-19, in more ways than one. Even though it has cancelled hundreds of sports events and affected training. Those who have actually had the disease can be affected for a much longer period afterwards. There is evidence that the illness can cause cardiological, renal, respiratory and haematological complications. All of which can affect training and participation in sport.

The four home country institutes of sports (English Institute of Sport, Sport Scotland Institute of Sport, Sport Wales Institute of Sport and the Sport Institute of Northern Ireland) have created an infographic (see image below) to assist those recovering from COVID return to sport

There are 4 key considerations when returning to sport post-COVID

  • At least 10 days complete rest and at least 7 days symptom free before resuming any exercise via the graduated return to play protocol.
  • 7 days is the minimum time the Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) should take to progress, especially in sports of an aerobic nature. Less physically intense sport like golf, may progress quicker. Most athletes take at least 3 weeks to work through the stages.
  • Before considering the GRTP, the athlete must be able to complete all activities of daily living without excessive fatigue and breathlessness and be able to walk a minimum of 500m on the flat without getting breathless.
  • All treatments that mask symptoms must be stopped e.g. paracetamol.

Athletes with comorbidities (multiple medical conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease) which may complicate the course of recovery from COVID-19 must seek medical advice before starting the GRTP.


You may find this a frustrating and slow process of return but take your time and listen to your body.