The state of Minnesota announced that Winter youth sports, including high school may resume scrimmages and games on January, 14th.  Teams may start practicing on January 4th.  According to an article on the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, in accordance to the Minnesota Department of Health, athletes who participate in hockey and basketball will be required to wear masks during all practices and games.

Face coverings will be required for athletes competing in practices and games except in wrestling, swimming and diving, gymnastics and cheerleading, for fear of them becoming a choking hazard, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The state of Wisconsin has been doing this with their high school athletics since football started this past fall.  Michigan mandated masks in football, volleyball and soccer. Many states in the Northeast portion of the country have mandated masks during competitions, as has North Carolina.

I know what your thinking?  What about masks making breathing more difficult during activities that involve a high level of exertion?  Will lack of oxygen make playing sports difficult or even dangerous during games?  Even the World Health Organization says masks should not be worn during vigorous physical activity for that very same reason.  However, according to the article, Susan Hopkins, a professor of medicine and radiology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, told the Associated Press "wearing masks does not impact your breathing."   She went on to say, “After three months practicing in it, most athletes should be used to it.”

What about before they're used to it?  What do you think?  Does wearing a mask during games or practice make sense for North Dakota youth athletes?

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