The City of Westfield, Indiana

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NEWS RELEASE: Grand Park and IUPUI Release Results of COVID-19 Youth Sports Research Study

Date: June 3, 2020

Contact: Vicki Duncan Gardner

Email: vgardner@westfield.in.gov

Cell: 317.416.6612

      

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Westfield, IN – Today, the Grand Park Sports Campus, in partnership with the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute, released the results of its COVID-19: Return to Youth Sports research study. The scientific survey of more than 10,000 people across 45 states looked at perceptions and expectations of parents, athletes, coaches, officials and administrators in relation to youth sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The data will be an important tool that facilities and event operators can use to ensure athletes and their families feel safe as youth sports resume.

“As we look to see youth sports reactivate across America, it is critical that we understand the mindset and expectations of those intimately involved,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook. “To build confidence and ensure a safe return to sports, we need to know what is expected and how it aligns with health data.”

“Grand Park is the largest youth sports facility in the United States. It makes sense that we, in partnership with the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute, lead in this research,” commented William Knox, Grand Park Sports Campus Director. “In some cases, as we open back up, facility investments may or may not be expected. The information we have gleaned from this research is critical to event operators and organizations to create meaningful opportunities for athletes and their families to participate in sports again.”

Led by Dr. David Pierce, director of the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute and an associate professor of sports management in the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI, the study assessed the feelings of parents, athletes, coaches, officials and administrators toward 12 adaptions being considered and implemented by venues for restarting youth sports programs.

"COVID-19 has impacted all areas of life, and youth sports is no exception," Pierce said. "Our study's results provide youth sports facilities and event operators with data on how specific adaptions are received by stakeholders who are looking to return to youth sports in a timely but safe manner."

Among the findings, participants identified seven critical or expected changes as youth sports emerge amid the pandemic:

  • Venues and events should invest heavily and visibly in sanitization of facilities, playing areas, and equipment before, during, and after events.
  • Venue operators and event managers can feel confident that the recommendations provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Federation of State High School Associations to sanitize playing areas and equipment after each use will be well-received and welcomed by users.
  • Promotion and monitoring of social distancing guidelines.
  • Limiting personal contact between players.
  • Limiting admission to those under age 65 with no underlying conditions.
  • Completing a health and contact information questionnaire prior to entering venues by users is expected in order for youth sports to return during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To see the full report in more detail, go to grandparkresearch.org.

About Westfield and Grand Park: Westfield is located just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is home to almost 40,000 people and the Grand Park Sports Campus. Grand Park is a 400+ acre sports complex, with 31 outdoor fields, 26 baseball diamonds, a privately-owned basketball facility and a 370,000 sq. ft. events center. The campus boasts more than 2.5 million visits a year and has spurred more than $1 billion of economic development in Westfield since its inception. Westfield is located within one day’s drive of more than half of the United States population and within 40 minutes of the award-winning Indianapolis International Airport. The Grand Park Research Hub is a center focused on advancements in technology, technique and research in youth sports.

About the IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute: The IUPUI Sports Innovation Institute blends academic thinking with an entrepreneurial spirit to creatively solve the pressing issues in the sports industry. The SII publishes the Sports Innovation Podcast, Sports Innovation Journal, and hosts Innovation Sprints for students. Founded in 2015, the SII leverages faculty expertise and student creativity to make a difference in local, regional, and national sports. 

  

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