Reader ‘s opinion Instead of competitive sports, the interests of all children must now be emphasized

If the exercises are trained in accordance with the safety interval recommendations and the races are canceled for the whole spring, for example, children who were left behind during the epidemic may return to hobby activities.

Sports organizations are concerned about the well-being of children and young people as coronavirus restrictions make recreational activities more difficult.

Restrictions undermine the well-being of children and should be better prioritized when considering restrictions. However, changes are also needed in the activities of sports clubs and sports umbrella organizations.

A significant number of coronavirus infections have been reported in contact sports. This is logical because contact sports combine breathing, being close, and physical contact.

In October, a recommendation on physical activity and culture was published by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). According to it, in areas of the accelerated phase of the epidemic, group hobbies for people of all ages must be organized in such a way that it is effectively possible for participants to avoid close contact with each other.

Many children’s hobbyists modified the activities in part or in full to comply with the recommendation. However, the recommendation did not result in the actual playing of contact sports being paused and focused on other training. A lot of race events were held in November, when there were also close contacts during the rides.

November in the end, in many areas, restrictions completely closed recreational facilities and secondary students were transferred to distance school. Sports competitions were paused, and sports clubs postponed training. However, many clubs continued contact sports outdoors. Some clubs have been circumvented restrictions on hiring private side of sports facilities.

An individual family is in a nasty situation if they would like to follow the recommendations but their own child’s team does not follow them. It is also difficult for an individual coach to follow recommendations if the sport’s umbrella organization in practice requires you to act against the recommendations.

Loneliness and immobility are big health risks for a child. Secondary students should have access to contact teaching, and facilities should be opened for children’s leisure activities as soon as possible.

Nationwide In many sports, the break in competition activities is now planned only for the end of January, although almost the whole of Finland is in the process of accelerating or spreading the epidemic. Competitive sports activities that disregard the recommendations contribute to weakening the conditions for removing restrictions that are harmful to all children.

If the exercises are trained in accordance with the safety interval recommendations and the races are canceled for a much longer period of time, for example for the whole spring, children who have been left out during the epidemic may return to hobbies.

In this case, children and their families could rely on the safety of training, and they or their clubs would not have to commit financial and other resources to competitions whose realization is uncertain. In many sports, the fun of the hobby would suffer, but fortunately it is not permanent. There are many ways to support team spirit.

I hope that sports umbrella organizations will make the overall well-being of all children and young people a top priority.

Ilona Visapää

pediatrician, social pediatrician, juvenile physician


Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by HS editorial. You can leave a comment or learn about the principles of writing at


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