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USSSA bans handshakes, high-fives over virus fears

VIERA, Fla. — One of the largest sanctioning bodies in American youth sports announced Wednesday that it is banning postgame handshakes, high fives and other forms of contact at its events to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a release, the USSSA said it is banning “all physical contact” at every level of its organization until further notice. The ban is effective immediately, and includes “customary game-related activities” such as pregame and postgame handshakes between teams and coaches, as well as in-game celebrations.

“Instead, staff, players and coaches should use verbal queues, such as saying ‘good game,’ without shaking hands, high-fiving or fist-bumping,” the USSSA said in its release.

It was not clear how the new policy affects physical contact related to competition, such as tag plays in baseball and softball.

The USSSA — formally known as the United States Specialty Sports Association — serves as a sanctioning body for 13 youth sports in the United States and Canada, and has a membership of more than 3.7 million people.