COVID masks for young athletes are worse than useless
January 6, 2021
On Jan. 4, sports from the youth to the high school level were scheduled to resume under new regulations from the Minnesota Department of Health. According to these new rules, all athletes must wear face coverings while competing in their sports (with exceptions given to wrestling, swimming, cheerleading and gymnastics). I have concerns with these rules as I see them posing undue hazards to our young athletes.
I am a former multisport high school athlete and collegiate basketball player. I graduated from Princeton University with a degree in molecular biology and virology, and now serve as an orthopedic sports medicine surgeon. I fear that the requirement for athletes to wear face masks during competition is unsafe, unrealistic and likely ineffective.
The close personal contact of a wrestling match makes wrestling among the most likely of sports to spread COVID-19. Yet under the new rules, face coverings are not encouraged during wrestling competition due to obvious safety concerns. Does anyone else see the paradox?