For Providers: Return to Play After COVID-19

The following information is for primary care physicians and providers. Please consult the Children’s team directly via the Physician Priority Line at 855-850-KIDS (5437) with any questions. If you are a parent looking for information on helping your child return to play, visit our page in the COVID-19 Resource Center.

Whether your patient has recently recovered or was sick with COVID-19 months ago — and whether they were asymptomatic or had severe symptoms — they should consult a physician before returning to play.

At a Glance: Which Specialist Should Evaluate My Patient?

Each patient has their own set of circumstances. But in general, we recommend that patients see:

  • A primary care provider if they were asymptomatic, had mild symptoms, or have ever had a COVID-19 diagnosis
  • A sports medicine provider if they experienced moderate symptoms, such as fever or flu-like aches
  • A cardiologist if they were ill enough to be admitted to the hospital or if they have a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition.

Algorithm for Return to Play

We have developed an algorithm to help you determine when your patient can safely return to play, types of tests or evaluations they may need, and which specialist they should see. The algorithm is based on guidelines adapted from American College of Cardiology (ACC)/Sports Medicine.

Use our interactive algorithm to see which type of specialist is best for your patient or view the printer-friendly version.

This algorithm is intended for general recommendations and is not prescriptive. Your patient may need different care based on their individual circumstances. Please consult the Children’s team directly via the Physician Priority Line at 855-850-KIDS (5437) with any questions.


return to play algorithm

Please note: Even patients who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms can become “long-haulers” — people who have lingering systems weeks or months after infection and presumed recovery. If your patient was asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, but is now experiencing symptoms, they should see a specialist for clearance before returning to play. A patient who is experiencing fatigue should see a sports medicine physician, and a patient who is experiencing cardiopulmonary symptoms should see a cardiologist.

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