Masketball: The reason behind face coverings for CHSAA high school basketball & hockey

Masketball: The reason behind face coverings for CHSAA high school basketball & hockey
Posted at 7:18 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 21:18:19-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Stop me if you have heard this before: the winter sports season will be different this year due to COVID-19.

The biggest change this time? Masks, and when they will be worn.

"Even doing this interview I am like 'I have to pull this away or take an extra breath," explained Lewis-Palmer head boy's basketball coach Bill Benton.

This year Colorado High School Activities Association & Colorado Department of Health are using guidelines made by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for what winter sports need to wear masks.

AAP recommends that all coaches and officials need to wear masks at all times.

For athletes, they say they will need to wear masks when they not competing.

But here is where things are different: for sports like basketball & hockey, masks will still need to be work during games, but for sports like wrestling, cheer or swimming - athletes can remove their masks right before the competition begins.

The reason? AAP says the face covering can become a choking hazard and impair vision for those sports. And in the case of swimming - a wet mask is hard to breathe through.

So what do basketball coaches think about the mask changes?

"I think its going to be more difficult that people are anticipating," said St. Mary's head girl's basketball coach Kyle Burkett.

"Until we hear that we do not have to play with them, we have to approach as we have to play with them," added Benton. "I got to coach with it so, how do we do that?"

A great question that has yet to have an answer, but the for the players who have to compete - they say it's a necessary evil.

"It is a lot harder to breath, but everyone is playing with masks so it is everyone's disadvantage," described St. Mary's junior guard Ellie Hartman.

"Obviously I would rather not play with it on," added Lewis-Palmer senior guard Colin Westfall. "But if this is what allows for us to be in the gym with the guys then that is what its going to take."

So no matter what side your on - 'Masketball' - as the Gazette's Paul Klee put it - is here to stay.

At least for now.

"It is just one of those things we have to wait and see," explained Falcon head girl's basketball coach Tarike Adams. "But we are really hoping we can get to that point (of not playing with them."

For more information on the AAP guidelines, please click here.