Masks should be required in Grady sports

William Randall

When I found out that ultimate frisbee would require athletes to wear masks, I was ecstatic. Soon, I would be back on the field playing the sport I love with friends I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. Above all that, I would feel safe in the process. 

Meanwhile, sanctioned sports, like soccer, lacrosse and tennis, are not required to wear masks. This is a massive mistake. Covid-19 is still heavily present with over 50,000 cases per day in the United States and has continued to be taken lightly by Atlanta Public Schools 

Some argue that masks make it harder to breathe. I admit, in some cases, like doing heavy exercises can cause difficulty breathing. Nevertheless, that is no excuse to put yourself and others around you at risk. Simply put, when everybody wears a mask, the chance of transmission is significantly lower. I’ve had asthma for as a long as I can remember, making it harder for me to breathe while I play sports. I still wear two masks, even while playing. 

People also make the argument that because sports are played outdoors, it’s completely safe for athletes to play without wearing masks. Although that may be partially true, people fail to recognize the other aspects of team sports, such as water breaks and team huddles. 

Players gather together on the sidelines, breathing heavily and talking to one another during water breaks. This is an optimal situation for Covid-19 to spread. While you obviously can’t drink water while wearing a mask, Grady should be more stern on social distancing. Additionally, during team huddles, players stand closely together, maskless and likely shouting or chanting. While team spirit is great and all, in times like these, players should be atleast required to wear a mask at all times before a game.  

Teenagers are considered one of the lowest-risk age groups for Covid-19 hospitalizations. What worries me, however, is how the virus can spread to their parents. It’s common knowledge at this point that the older you are, the more susceptible you are to Covid-19 symptoms.  

Wills Barton, in his opposing view on this topic, says that masks limit the chemistry that is built during team sports; however, I disagree. Both of us play on the ultimate frisbee team, and, without masks, we wouldn’t have a season at all. 

While vaccines are rolling in, the pandemic is still wreaking havoc on the country. At the time of writing (April 2nd), 18 people died of Covid-19 in Georgia yesterday. Grady has been lucky to not have any serious outbreaks, but we can’t continue to rely on this luck, though. APS must apply a mask mandate in competition and in practices to all team sports to limit the constant threat that is Covid-19. 

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