Sunday, June 28, 2020

Guidance on Returning to Play Ultimate Issued by USA Ultimate

It's been 3+ months since COVID19 pandemic disrupted the routine. During this time, there have been countless days with weather conditions friendly to playing ultimate. USA Ultimate published a 30-page guidance document "intended to assist local disc organizations, teams, coaches, athletes, parents/guardians, event organizers and others with decision-making about returning to ultimate-related activities in an environment that continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Scientists (people who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences) are only starting to grasp the vast array of health problems caused by the novel coronavirus. So, while it might be hard to not play ultimate, the safest thing you can do in locations where the 2019 novel coronavirus has not been eradicated not play ultimate.

Below are some highlights from the USA Ultimate guidance document.

Assessing Risk Diagram
Mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 transmission.

Ultimate Return to Play Stages Diagram
The stages described below are laid out based on a continuum of risk. Generally, one or more risk factors are introduced while public health restrictions are eased in the progression from one stage to the next. Decisions about if/when ultimate activities can progress, or possibly regress, from one stage to the next will be dependent on local conditions and regulations, as well as on the ability of the local organizer and participants to adhere to risk mitigation guidelines.

USA Ultimate offered some rules modifications in the guidance document:
The following are some suggested ideas for basic rules modifications, which may be appropriate for Return to Play Stages 3-5. If allowed by local regulations to enter into Stage 3 or above, it is recommended that organizers adapt the game in some form to continue to reduce risk by limiting close or extended contact, and by allowing for regular cleaning of discs and other shared equipment. Much of this won't look or feel like the game of ultimate you're used to; however, these suggested modifications may reduce risk and provide opportunities for exercise, skills development and some fun, alternative styles of play. Organizers, coaches, participants and others are encouraged to be flexible in their thinking under these unprecedented circumstances.

• Increase marking (of thrower) distance to 6 feet (two big steps).
• Increase marking (of thrower) distance to 10 feet (same as double team distance).
• Allow stalling from anywhere* on the field.
*Note: This is the rule for goaltimate.
o Must be audible by thrower.
o Must be maintained by same "staller;" stall restarts if staller switches.
• Disallow person defense (i.e., require zone defenses, with increased marking distance).
• No bidding on defense (to minimize potential for contact).
• Any contact, even incidental, is a foul (to discourage proximity). • Change and clean discs at the beginning and end of each half, and after every five (5) points during a game.
o Treat this stoppage as an equipment timeout.
o Replace used disc with cleaned/disinfected disc. o Restart play with acknowledgment from defense and a ground tap.
• Require set offensive and defensive lines be established before play and remain the same during the duration of any play.
o Ex: No player can play on both lines. The same offensive and defensive lines will match-up against each other for the duration of play.
• Require same person matchups.
o No switching on defense.
o During injury timeouts, substitute both the injured player and the opponent matched up against them.
• Separate teams on sidelines (sideline players and coaches).
o Two different sidelines, OR
o Two halves of same sideline.
• No rushing the field during a celebration after a goal.
• Expand pick rule to allow for a pick to be called if a player’s path would not allow for a 6- foot radius to be maintained.

NOTE: provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended as, and should not be relied upon as, specific medical or legal advice.