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When to return to training after being sick?

With Covid running through both red and blue states this topic is as hot as Omicron right now. What if you have a mild stuffy nose, that you think you get most years around this time, should you stay off the mats and get tested? What if you had a temperature a day ago but it is more than 5 from the start of your symptoms and today you feel great? What if you had covid 3 weeks ago, feel fine, but keep testing positive?

As you can see the answers to these questions are not easy. To me the answer starts with intent and ends with personal responsibility of each practitioner. It will be impossible for a gym to legislate its way through what to do in any given situation. Each situation is going to be nuanced and different. It is impossible to think of every scenario.

The gym itself should have a culture of taking care of each other. If that is the case you will never have to worry about somebody saying “Covid isn’t hurting me and I just want to get out of the house and train”. A solid culture will cultivate decisions with positive intent for the masses. If you are wondering if you are safe training now, ask yourself if your gym's culture is that where people take care of each other and care for each other or if people try to kill each other and don’t care about others' well being.

On the personal side of intent, you must be honest with yourself on how you feel. Whether it be covid, the flu, or just a common cold you should not want to spread it. If annually you have a stuffed up nose when the weather changes and you have trained each year with it then you probably shouldn’t have a problem training now. If you had a long day at work and just feel a bit drained that is probably ok. If your running a fever but decide to say fuck it, it’s promotion day and you wouldn’t miss that, you’re kind of an asshole for going. If in your heart your decision is made with all parties in mind, rest assured it is the right one.

Now to talk about personal responsibility of each practitioner. Each time I step on the mats I know that I could get hurt, sick, or beat up. It is a rough sport. To mitigate the risks I have a personal responsibility to myself to stay in shape, stretch or other things to help prevent injury. In the same way, I need to build my immune system so every bug going around doesn’t get me sick. I have a personal responsibility to eat right, get fresh air, and keep my stress down. I can’t leave my health up to everyone else.

We know that this sickness is out there and it certainly can be frightening. We also know that living the life we want to live comes with risks and staying confined inside is not the life we want to live. Therefore, let us take personal responsibility to mitigate the risks that we get sick and then spread that sickness to others. Let’s all take personal responsibilities to lower our number of comorbidities like being overweight, hypertension or stress. Let's strengthen our immune systems and take care of one another that way.

Lastly, if I am stepping out of the house and onto the mat, I know that I am putting myself at risk. It is a cost I am willing to pay to live my life. If I get sick, it is ultimately my fault and I will not pass the buck. We should all know the costs and risks associated with grappling. If you are not ready to pay those costs, that is ok but perhaps you should stay home. If you choose to grapple, take the time to determine whether you have good intent for all parties, and know there is risk. Happy training to you all!

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