COVID-19 and its subsequent shutdown revealed with shocking speed how fragile our institutions can be-- touching virtually every industry and entity. Professional, collegiate, and high school sports, along with the fitness industry were no exception to the fallout, as the pandemic sidelined players, caused stadiums and arenas to go dark, and closed gyms indefinitely.

With the return of sports amidst the pandemic, high school, college and professional teams were seeing an increase in the number of athletes sustaining repetitive trauma injuries linked to a sedentary pre-season. A similar narrative ensued when recreational athletes who battled COVID-19 returned to exercise or engaged in competitive sports, with reports citing side effects ranging from extreme fatigue and difficulty breathing to an increase in blood clots and sudden cardiac arrest.

As the #1 hospital provider for orthopedics, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) was in a unique position to lead a broader conversation tied to COVID-19’s impact on athletics. In an effort to bring our Client’s expertise to the forefront of this moment, Sharp developed and produced a virtual panel discussion featuring insights from three HSS Florida physicians and a leading infectious disease expert that placed emphasis on key learnings from the recent fall sports season, strategies for balancing risk of deconditioning versus risk of infection, and best practices for professional and recreational athletes who were returning to exercise after battling COVID-19.

The virtual event, hosted on Zoom, was moderated by ESPN’s NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum and was attended by over 100 guests, including key members of the media, HSS patients, and Athletic Directors from high schools and universities across the country.