Sports the Covid Way


If you would have told me at the beginning of school that I would get a chance to play sports this year, I would have told you you were crazy. Now, towards the end of April, I’ve had two different seasons for two different sports and I am looking to play a third. Just like when we are in school, there have been many rules to follow, such as temperature checks, attestations, and sometimes even having to quarantine. Games have been postponed and canceled. There have been no spectators at most events and you’re not supposed to sit by your teammates on the bench. By far the biggest adjustment for all athletes, however, has been playing with a mask on.

Many people feel it is harder to breathe with a mask on. When masks were first mandated, it took some time to get used to wearing them. Every athlete has had to get used to wearing them again. With a mask on, your stamina needs to be higher, you need to be able to catch your breath quicker, and you need to change your pre-season conditioning completely. You’re not allowed to take your mask off unless you are getting water. Conditioning changed by preparing more than an athlete would in a usual pre-season. My teammates and I would run with a mask on to increase our stamina and allow ourselves to tolerate the mask more. 

People have said that masks can cause other problems as well. I’ve seen other athletes during a game, get dizzy or become light-headed because of wearing their masks. I have not experienced this personally though. Masks cause carbon dioxide to circulate in your breathing space behind your mask, therefore when you have to take more breaths during a sports game; it makes sense to become light-headed or dizzy. Companies have created certain masks for sports usage. These masks are made so that they are farther away from your mouth and nose, making it easier to breathe. I have a mask just like this that I wear under my football helmet. Although I don’t like to wear it normally, it is easier for me to wear it on the football field.

In addition to football, I’ve also played basketball with a mask on. I personally feel it is harder to wear a mask during basketball because you have to continually run up and down the court with rarely any stopping during the play. In football, there is some time in between each play where you have a small chance to catch your breath. However, I’ve found it quite difficult to wear a mask under your helmet. It is hard to keep the straps for the mask on your ears, and if it falls under your nose, it is hard to pick up. As the game goes on, your head starts to spin inside your helmet, the mask doesn’t make it any easier. You also have to wear a mouthguard under your mask. The mouthguard restricts your breathing even further, so trying to breathe through both at the same time is not easy. I’m grateful for being able to play my sports this year, but I hope I can play sports without a mask in the near future.