Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools shouldn’t require students to wear masks for indoor sports. As a student-athlete, an area in which I have noticed masks causing more harm than good is sports. During the fall sports season I participated in soccer. Soccer practices and games were all outside and therefore we didn’t have to wear masks. Instead, our school guidelines only required masks on buses to games. However, with the arrival of winter sports, namely basketball, which I participate in, I am required to wear a mask during all practices and games.
As a high school varsity sport, our practices are lengthy and strenuous, masks undoubtedly make them even more demanding and potentially dangerous if student-athletes don’t limit themselves as needed. I think that those who have enforced mask usage don’t understand how masks impact athletics. Wearing a mask while exercising can limit oxygen intake, making activities normally difficult even harder. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shared that “A wet mask is harder to breathe through, is less efficient at filtering, and vents more around the edges of the mask.” Some of my teammates tend to perspire a lot, and because of this their masks always end up soaked through. The only way to ensure athletes always have dry masks would be to stop games every few minutes, which just doesn’t fit the rhythm of the game.
I suggest that if educational and sports officials desire indoor sports programs such as basketball to operate like they did before the coronavirus, they should not require student-athletes to wear masks.