Nov 9, 2020
Connecticut AT Weighs In On Basketball Mask Mandate

In the state of Connecticut, all student-athletes competing in moderate-risk indoor sports like basketball must wear a mask according to a mandate from Governor Ned Lamont.

The question now being asked in the Constitution State is whether it’s safe to wear a mask during such a demanding cardiovascular sport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

While the answer may vary depending on who you talk to, The Connecticut Post spoke with Dr. Matthew Rothbard, an athletic trainer who teaches athletic training at Southern Connecticut State University, to get his opinion on the topic.

“Is it safe? Yes, it is safe,” Rothbard, who is in his 12th year at Southern Connecticut and has been an athletic trainer for more than two decades, told The Post. “Athletes in close proximity of each other, the prevention of spreading COVID outweighs the risk of negatively impacting performance. It outweighs the risk of not being able to play at all. If you give me a choice of playing with a mask or not playing at all, I’ll play with a mask.”

While Rothbard said it is safe and can be done, he feels wearing a mask will “negatively impact high-intensity performance” starting with airflow to the lungs.

“That is called ventilation. It restricts airflow. It’s kind of like a chain reaction,” Rothbard told The Post. “The second thing that happens is it decreases the body’s ability to transport and use oxygen. That in turn decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood and that’s called oxygen saturation.”

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Per Gov. Lamont’s mandate, any team comprised of student-athletes from grades K-12 practicing or competing in basketball must wear a mask until the end of the calendar year, at least, The Post reported.

Winter sports were slated to begin practicing on November 21, but the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) pressed pause on the start date to review the latest health guidelines. The CIAC Board of Control is scheduled to meet to discuss the state of the winter athletics seasons on November 17.

To read the full story from The Connecticut Post on the state’s mask mandate for playing basketball, click here

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