During a time whre there is no definitive answer on how to integrate COVID-19 protections into daily life, finding a way to participate in sports with a lower risk of contracting the coronavirus has led to coaches taking action.
There is a general consensus on how mask usage should be enforced in sports; athletes and coaches are being told to wear their masks for most of the time they are together. However, with the different equipment, activities and team size, there are unique regulations for the people involved.
“Coach Short always tells us to keep our mask on until we’re on the field, he just wants us to take precautions so we can have a season,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School varsity quarterback Ethan Cruz (15) said.
With a larger team, like football, there are going to be at least 40 or more people at a single practice, making masks a necessity for as long as they can be worn without interfering in the actual sport. While wearing their helmets, the football players are not required to wear a mask as it would get in the way of equipment that is essential to the sport.
In other sports, there are no such signs of leniency, with dancers keeping their masks on throughout an entire practice. There is likely a smaller crowd of people participating but still a need for social distancing and masks being worn consistently in the dance rooms.
“The instructors enforce the mask rules the whole time. It’s difficult to even breathe during dancing but that’s the only way we’re allowed to participate,” junior Chanel Lee said.
Lee, who is a dancer at Dance Theatre of Parkland, waited attentively for dance to return to action and was willing to follow any regulations necessary for participation.
Cross Country is another sport where the restrictions are not as extreme, with practices that include running and conditioning that usually allows for runners to take off their masks.
The athletes run in smaller groups that the coaches organize with the intent of reducing the risk of a larger team being together without their masks on. However, with precautions taken such as temperature checks and a questionnaire before their first practice, teams are making an effort to keep sick people home, creating less of a risk.
“Personally, I don’t feel at risk at all, you have to wear a mask until you are with your group and before practice, the temperature checks out sick people pretty well,” senior Anthony Cardinale said.
Just about every sport being played right now has placed tight restrictions on their athletes, with masks being used at every opportunity possible. Though situations are different for each activity, coaches have consistent rules on mask-wearing through the majority of practices that have taken place so far.