Focus should be on testing, not masks


William Gordon

William Gordon, Contributor

Throughout professional sports, the guidelines behind wearing a mask are pretty strict, as teams want their players and staff to be as safe as they can. COVID-19 has proven to take some tolls on the overall game in these professional sports. The NBA had to postpone their playoffs by a couple months, and host games in a “bubble” in Orlando, and the Denver Broncos of the NFL just recently had to play an important game without a traditional Quarterback, as all three of their quarterback’s had COVID-19. Part of the measures taken in professional sports to keep everyone safe is testing the athletes daily.  To save Stamford’s winter sports,  the best thing that can be done is weekly COVID-19 testing.

On a local level, it has been shown that Stamford is doing all they can to keep their city healthy and safe while dealing with this global pandemic. Unfortunately, that came at the expense of the basketball season being postponed by a couple of months. This not only comes on the high school and middle school level, but also the travel and recreational leagues. There has been much discussion as to whether athletes should be wearing their masks on the court, and the question remains this: Will the caution around COVID-19 restrain the true athletic ability of these basketball players? The simple answer to this is to conduct weekly COVID-19 testing.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has just recently announced that select winter sports, including basketball, will be able to start practicing on January 19, and even begin playing games by February 8. When they do start playing, however, will athletes be forced to play basketball with a mask on? This may seem like a mandatory statement, as of course they must wear a mask to stay safe, but there is a simple answer to this question. Teams should simply get a COVID-19 test once a week, and as long as all tests are negative, the sport can be played. This makes it so that there is no need for an athlete to wear a mask when driving to the rim or sprinting down the court. 

One of the Senators of Michigan, Lana Theis, said “Wearing a mask while on the sidelines in close physical contact makes sense and should be encouraged. But to require athletes to ‘mask up’ while competing is a penalty they should not be required to suffer. Please amend your executive order and let our athletes breathe.”

Wearing a mask while competing is a ridiculous task, and athletes will lose stamina, comfort, and overall performance levels if they are forced to do so. 

Dr. Sean Cook, a family physician with Green Brook Family Medicine, with a specialty in sports medicine, claimed, “What we would expect to see in terms of physiological changes would be increased body carbon dioxide and a trend towards increased body temperature, because it would impair your thermoregulation,” said Cook. “A lot of heat you breathe out of your mouth, and intuitively I think it would decrease oxygen levels.”

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