The coronavirus pandemic has affected some college sports. Mandatory social distancing and wearing masks have made it difficult for sports around the globe.
BYU-Idaho has taken extra precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, allowing some sports to continue through Fall Semester 2020.
“This was a team effort” said Justin Garner, the activities director. “As the Idaho stages of reopening progressed, our advisors were working hard to make modifications and changes to our offerings to make them as safe as possible. With the proper safety protocols in place, we gained approval to offer non-contact sports.”
Masks are a requirement for those who wish to play sports and use the recreational facilities offered on campus.
“Students have been supportive and understanding,” Garner said. “Overall, students understand that wearing them is a protection to all participants.”
According to Dr. Matt Axtman, an orthopedic sports medicine doctor for Spectrum Health in West Michigan, it’s safe to wear a mask while playing sports.
“Some athletes insist that wearing a mask while running decreases their oxygen levels, restricts airflow and/or results in oral infections,” said Axtman. “But there have been no studies or proof that masks decrease oxygen levels in the blood or affect running performance.”
Masks have allowed students like Michael Pastrana, a freshman studying accounting, to continue to live life with some sense of normalcy.
“Masks have been a touchy subject,” Pastrana said. “Although I’m not a firm believer in the efficacy of masks, it’s allowed me to continue doing the things I love like exercising and working out.”
Vonny Marion, a sophomore majoring in marriage and family studies doesn’t feel like masks have affected his competitiveness.
” I’m still the same basketball player,” Marion said. “Also, it’s just a shield. What harm is it going to do? Although it’s really annoying to wear, I still manage to get through it.”