Should athletes be required to wear masks while competing?

Face+mask+used+to+catch+the+bacteria+and+virus+shed+in+liquid+droplets+and+aerosols+from+the+wearer%27s+mouth+and+nose.

NurseTogether

Face mask used to catch the bacteria and virus shed in liquid droplets and aerosols from the wearer’s mouth and nose.

Nathan Yoder, Writer

Wearing a mask on the sidelines or in close contact with others makes sense and should be encouraged, but making athletes wear masks during play would be an awful experience. 

Even though some studies suggest masks don’t constrict airflow, masks would impair athletes to the point where they wouldn’t be playing at their peak performance. 

One winter team, the Bethel Park hockey team, is already being required to wear masks during games. Some athletes are not too enthusiastic about this rule. 

Alternate Captain Jadon Tietz said: “I do not like them at all. They are annoying and make it hard to breathe.” 

Sports are already hard enough as is, but adding a restriction to airflow makes playing a lot harder. Many sports are physical and in physical contact with others for long periods of time. Masks would do nothing for these sports, but restrict athletes from playing at their best. 

Other sports like wrestling would make it impossible for the mask to stay on the face. Would they make them stop the match every time the mask breaks or falls off? I think it would be absurd and impossible to wear a mask during a wrestling match. 

The PIAA is making strides already with new guidelines like making wrestlers shower after each round and put on a fresh uniform. For basketball, they are making teams sanitize the ball every chance they get, and have social distance on the bench. These measures are designed to assure the safety of the athletes.

I think if the athlete is willing to go on that court, field, ice, or mat, they are willing to take the risk for COVID-19.

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