Sports and Covid-19

May 31, 2020

This week, our panel of experts answers your questions on a variety of issues ranging from injuries on the field to whether it’s safe to engage in sporting activities like swimming and golf during the Covid-19 situation.

Q: Is it safe to go to a swimming pool for an hour of swim during this Covid-19 situation? – Irfan Elahi Bashir

A: Covid-19 is a respiratory virus and transmitted via tiny droplets from the infected person while sneezing and coughing. Coronavirus can survive up to three days on metal, wood, plastic and other hard surfaces and may also hang in the air for up to thirty minutes. Regarding the transmission of virus through water, at this point we don’t know exactly because of scarce data but it is believed that the virus is not found in drinking water and there is a possibility that amount of chlorine present in pools can sufficiently destroy the virus.

Public pool areas are mostly housed in clubs or gym facilities. Imagine how many things you touched before entrance into the pool like door handle, lockers, benches, communal shower tap and washbasins.

Moreover, the big concern could be the number of people you will meet at the pool and during pandemic it must be assumed that all the people are infected. When several swimmers get into a pool, in proximity to one another there can be a high possibility for viral transmission if one of the swimmer is carrying the virus. And not everyone who has the virus shows signs so there must also be ample distance between two swimmers. Anything you touch could be contaminated. It would be hard to get in and out of the pool without touching anything or interacting with another person.

Theoretically, if you could go swimming alone without touching any surfaces or coming into contact with another person, it might be safe to do and practically that would be difficult to achieve. There are plenty of places for a tiny, invisible virus to cling to and follow you home where it might infect you or a loved one.

Dr. Saima Akhter

FCPS (Pulmonology Medicine) MRCP (UK)

Assistant Professor | Department of Chest Medicine

Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

Q: I am a golfer. Before the lockdown, I was a regular visitor at the golf course. Please advise whether it is safe to play golf under the present circumstances, as maintaining a social distance during the game is not a big deal? –Mehdi Raza.

A: There are many things you can do to make playing golf safer. For starters, walk, do not use a cart and play with people who completely share your social-distancing desires. Keep minimum distance of 6 feet. On tee boxes, stand well away until it’s your turn. Bring sanitizer with you so if you touch a cup or something else you can immediately sanitize. Last but not least everyone who is playing and present in the field should wear a mask. Don’t linger on the course after your playing round is over.

Dr. Saadia Aamir

Assistant Professor and


Head of the Department

Infectious Diseases

Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

Q: I am a cricketer and an opening batsman. I am 27 years old. In early January this year, while batting, a quick rising delivery hit my stomach. I felt a severe pain. After the game my friends took me to a doctor who gave me painkillers and assured me of no damage. From that day onwards, my stomach ache is still there and my bowel movement is disturbed. Please suggest which specialist doctor to visit? –Ikram Ahmed

A: The mode of injury that you have described can inflict multiple injuries. The most common one is a muscular injury followed by injury to the rib cage. Ribs might be bruised or in some instances fracture if impact is very high velocity. An injury to the internal organ like stomach and pancreas is very unlikely. It seems that the injury you had at that time was probably a muscular one. Injuries like these usually do not cause bowel habits to be disturbed. However the symptoms you are having should not be ignored and you should see a gastroenterologist for evaluation. Your detailed history and examination will be done and relevant investigations will need to be done. It appears to be an issue that will respond to proper medical therapy.

Dr. Faisal Siddiqui


Assistant Professor | Department of General Surgery

Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

Q: I am 34 years old and play football. I had a knee fracture when I was 8 years old and was cured. My problem is that I still feel pain in the same knee after around thirty minutes of start of game. Please help me get rid of the pain.

A: Fractures during childhood at times leave an impact around the knee joint in terms of deformity and other associated problems which causes pain in adulthood. Although there is a possibility of other injuries during sports which results in pain around the knee the most common of which are meniscal and ligament injuries. Knee joint consist of many bony and soft tissue structures the integrity of which is extremely important for normal knee function. It is advisable to undergo a complete evaluation of your knee joint which will include complete physical examination along with some radiological investigations in order to relieve your problem so that you can return to your sports without pain.

Dr. Muhammad Sufyan

FCPS (Ortho) AO Fellow

(Germany), Sports Medicine Fellowship (Singapore)

Assistant Professor | Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College

All the specialists on our experts’ panel are associated with Liaquat National Hospital. Please send your queries at [email protected] or [email protected])

– Khalid Hussain

Sports and Covid-19