A new online toolkit has been created to help the organisers of endurance events assess and mitigate the risks presented by COVID-19.
The tool is intended to help organisers assess the risk of staging an event, establish the preparedness of the community and the event organisation for the risks of Covid-19, and clarify any necessary steps to further mitigate and reduce the risk.
The toolkit was launched by the Outbreak Prevention Taskforce formed by the World Athletics in association with the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM), along with the medical chairs from five other global sports federations.
“Using the tool will not solve the COVID-19 outbreak, or other infectious diseases, but it will guide event organisers through a process that should become a habit and should be done before every event,” said Dr Paolo Emilio Adami, World Athletics’ medical manager. “There will never be zero risk for infections diseases but we want to help event organisers to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.”
Representatives from the International Cycling Union (UCI), World Triathlon, International Ski Federation (FIS), World Rowing, the International Paralympic Committee, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) expert group on mass gatherings, joined the taskforce.
The WHO and the International Olympic Committee attended as observers, while an advisory group including event organisers and stakeholders from a range of other endurance sports was also consulted.
Once details have been entered into the tool, it generates a document that event organisers can use in making the right decisions to protect the local community, the participants, the volunteers, workforce, and staff involved. It does not advise on spectator management.
The tool is applicable to all mass participation endurance events, regardless of the sport, competition level and size.
It outlines mandatory mitigation measures to be undertaken by the event organisers, based on their circumstances, as well as recommended and desired measures, and emphasises that all of the mandatory measures and most of the recommended measures should be adopted, if the event is to take place.
There is no guarantee that the suggested actions will sufficiently reduce the risk to allow the safe staging of an event, but they will guide event organisers through a process that the taskforce hopes will become a standard part of the preparation for staging mass events.
Competition organisers are strongly encouraged to coordinate with local public health authorities when planning events and to discuss the results obtained through the tool. Local and/or national laws and regulations will always take precedence over the results obtained from this tool and its guidance documents.
“The International Institute for Race Medicine is proud to have helped lead this effort. During these uncertain and ever changing times, it was vital for so many organisations to work towards a common goal. This evaluation tool, which provides immediate feedback, can be used for all types of endurance events as we return to activities. But the risk assesment tool is only the first step as we continue to provide practical solutions to the pandemic,” said Chris Troyanos, ATC, Executive Director, IIRM.