As reported by the New York Post and a variety of other sources, a Manhattan-based youth soccer club has acted to discourage its elementary school athletes from giving each other high fives or even walking through the traditional postgame handshake line. The reason? Officials are worried that contact from high fives and handshakes could spread flu germs.
In an email sent out to parents, the Manhattan Soccer Club (MSC) outlined a variety of ways to minimize flu risks among its players, including the following paragraph:
At this point the MSC Board and the coaching staff would recommend that players not shake/touch hands with opponents after the games. The safest thing to do is to touch elbows. The coach or manager can explain this to the other team prior to the game.
The Manhattan Soccer Club’s athletes won’t be able to put their hands together for awhile — ManhattanSC.org
While the email doesn’t explicitly outline high fives or handshakes, it does go to lengths to discourage them from ever taking place.
And while the soft-ban might seem severe, at least one parent expressed support for the ban when speaking to the Post.
“It shows that [the club] is on top of what is going on with the flu outbreak, and they have come up with a great solution that shows good sportsmanship while also reducing the chance of transferring the flu,” Andy Stenzler, whose 10-year-old daughter plays with MSC, told the Post.