According to a research made by the Polytechnic University of Turin, water polo is the team sport with the lowest risk of COVID-19 infection.
The Polytechnic University (Italy’s oldest technical university, established in 1859) made research on behalf of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). This study serves to certify the various risk factors of 387 sports disciplines gathered in CONI and the Italian Paralympic Committee. The national sports federations, the associated sports disciplines, and sports promotion bodies were asked to fill an analytical questionnaire prepared on the basis of an analysis model of risk.
The sports are split in four groups of the relative risk factor: 0 = non-existent; 1 = low; 2 = medium; 3 = high; 4 = very high risk.
The results of the research are compiled in the report “Sport restarts safely”, that contains 404 pages, CONI announced. The Italian Olympic Committee hasn’t published that document. The report was sent to the Minister for Youth Policy and Sport, but the Italian website Il Fatto Quotidiano (ilfattoquotidiano.it) revealed some of the parts of the study.
Water polo is classified at risk 2 (medium), along with beach volleyball. In the current circumstances, caused by the coronavirus spread, the advantage of water polo is the fact that it is played in chlorinated water. According to the researches (not just in Italy), there’s no evidence the coronavirus can be spread through the water in pools.
Rugby, volleyball, and basketball, all placed in group 4. There are no physical contacts between the players of the opposing teams in volleyball, but in the act of blocking the athletes find themselves face to face. Soccer is in a group of high risk (3).
Sports such as golf, tennis, equestrian, sailing are in group 0.
Of course, nobody should draw hasty conclusions, after this information, but the report encourages water polo family.
For team sports, the document recommends testing all athletes 48 hours before each match, besides other measures such as using masks on the bench and the constant disinfection of all the equipment. Without the appropriate health measures, none of the sporting activities can be safe.