As Covid-19 Omicron works its way through the country, Netball New Zealand has released a helpful resource to transition players safely back to the court.

The two-page resource produced by NetballSmart, Netball New Zealand's official injury prevention programme, provides a clear framework for the coach, whanau and the participant on the phases needed to ensure a safe return to play.

"With Covid-19 Omicron prevalent in New Zealand and in particular with the young population, we want to educate our Netball community on how best to care for those players affected - the health of our rangatahi is vital," said Netball New Zealand Participation Manager Irene van Dyk.

"With young people we don't know how it is going to affect their lungs and their heart. And when you listen to those that have gone through it - they are still so fatigued many weeks later - and so we need to pay attention to each individual," said van Dyk.

The Covid-19 Care resource highlights that you can't just finish your seven-day isolation period and be back on court the next day.

"Just because you have had a negative test, there is a process to go through and I'm pleased that Netball New Zealand has taken a stance and provided this guidance."

Once symptom free for at least seven days there are then five stages which take a minimum of 15 days to step through, starting with daily activities and light walking ending with high intensity Netball training ahead of competition.

Aimed at those who have had mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19, each stage clearly outlines the activity, heart rate, duration, objective and measures, making it a quick and useful reference for those players transitioning back.

"Covid-19 will affect many of us this season and so if those in the Netball community can educate themselves, care for each other and listen to their own body when unwell, the better off our wider community will be," said van Dyk.

In February, Silver Fern Sulu Fitzpatrick told her Covid-19 story to Newsroom opening up on her emotional and physical struggle, including some wise words around the patience and time required to properly recover.

“If I had my way, I’d just push through it. But that wouldn’t help my family or the team,” Fitzpatrick says. It became evident that Fitzpatrick needed to get her lungs and heart right, and that meant very light exercise before transitioning into more intensive trainings.

“In that first week I tried to ride the bike, but my body didn’t want it. I even tried a Zumba class, which my body didn’t like either. I got in trouble with the doctor, so I went back to walking my 30 minutes outside every day,” she laughs.

Fitzpatrick said she was grateful for not being put under any pressure by her coaches and that the focus was on recovery before she returned to the court.

Click here to see the Covid-19 Care Resource

Photo credit: ©Michael Bradley