Parents of young athletes in Minnesota are outraged over the state’s mask mandate in sporting events.

In Minnesota, youth sports are officially back on.  However, the announcement is not without its COVID-centric changes.  Now, athletes are being required to wear masks during all sporting events, including practices, games and matches.  The parents running the citizens group, Let Them Play MN, are responding with their concerns that mask-wearing impedes sports performance — and on-field safety.

The parents that make up Let Them Play MN claim that face masks cause decreased visibility, breathing difficulties and other potential injuries when worn during athletic activities.

In his blog post, ‘Mask-wearing and Working Out,’ George Carlo featured a study conducted by Baylor Scott & White’s Sports Performance Center in 2020.  Lead researcher, Dr. Simon Driver, hypothesized that no direct link would be discovered between mask-wearing and sports performance ability.  As of 2021, a similar study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports has both reflected and demonstrated Dr. Driver’s initial assumption to be true.  Wearing a mask does not directly impact heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen level or time of exhaustion.  The study further concludes that it is safe to wear a mask while working out or participating in any physical activity.  

With the above studies in mind, George Carlo believes that there is no reason for parents of youth athletes to worry — to some extent, anyway.  Their concerns of decreased visibility may manifest indirectly due to the mask-wearing.  However, that is not to say that sports leagues cannot work out a way to prevent this issue from coming about. By offering these young athletes proper equipment necessary to protect them, the mask-wearing matter should not pose any problems.