Exercising and playing sports while wearing a mask reduces the possibility of contracting COVID-19. Marian athletes are required to wear face masks when playing close contact sports, such as volleyball and cheerleading. Most students even wear them while at their local gyms to protect themselves and their community members.
The CDC states that while engaging in low-intensity activities, face protection and the practice of social distancing is recommended. When engaging in high-intensity activities such as running, wearing a face mask may cause difficulty breathing, but is still highly encouraged.
When wearing a mask while exercising, the restricted flow of oxygen makes the workout more intense. A scientifically more intense workout, will result in a greater number of calories burned. While it may restrict the flow of oxygen, wearing a mask does not trap the carbon dioxide breathed out.
It is important to have a fitted, breathable mask that can be washed after each day of activity to keep yourself and others healthy.
Freshman Margaret McAndrews wears her mask while at basketball workouts, at soccer practice and at the gym. “I get used to it by working on breathing patterns and just always having it on during workouts. It does take time to get used to mask-wearing during workouts, but the more you wear your mask, the more you keep others and yourself safe.”
Sophomore Ally Ravnsborg wears a mask to volleyball practices and games. “I think that we should wear masks during sports, because we are all close and breathing heavy…I just got used to it by making sure I always wore one, and you just have to push through it.”
Freshman Katie Prosser wears her mask to volleyball. “Wearing a mask was a little tough at first, but I have gotten used to it, and it barely bugs me anymore…It took me learning to take deeper, longer breaths rather than short and shallow breaths, during which I would just breathe in the mask. That’s about it, I barely remember what playing without one is like because it’s been so long.”
Not only is it suggested to wear a mask during school sports and public workouts, but also activities where individuals might raise their voices, chant, or shout, such as cheerleading. Marian’s cheer team stands on the end of the court this fall.
“The first game was hard to adjust to wearing a mask, but since then, it’s been manageable. The team just has to focus on making sure we are clear with our cheers, so that the parents and students in the crowd can understand us,” senior cheerleader Regan Peake said.
“Tumbling with a mask is more difficult though, because it falls down easily,” Peake said.
The safety of the athletes, opponents and spectators is important, so the cheerleaders maintain a positive atmosphere at games and matches.
While wearing a mask can make usual activities more intense, the Marian community is working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while allowing activities to continue.
Despite the protocols, the week of Oct. 12 brought multiple positive COVID-19 results to the Marian athletic community. Contact tracing has made it relatively clear that the athletes had been wearing masks at practices and games but not for other daily activities. This outbreak has quarantined 63 members of the Marian community in an attempt to protect others.
This is not the first outbreak amongst athletics in Omaha. In early September, the Creighton Prep Varsity football team cancelled practices and upcoming games and quarantined players after a team member tested positive. Since the quarantine, the team has been able to continue with their season and has remained healthy, despite having to forfeit a game against Bellevue West on Sept. 5.
While the other volleyball teams concluded their season, practice remains on schedule for the Marian Varsity volleyball team members who tested negative. The Varsity volleyball team dropped out of the Metro tournament but is preparing for the District tournament.
The Marian administration worked hard to trace and contact students and families who may have been exposed to the virus.
“In no way do I want to blame the athletic teams for this outbreak. The biggest advice I can give to students regarding weekend activities is to wear their mask!” Principal Susie Spethman Sullivan ‘80 said. “Trust me, I know how hard it can be to not get the same social interaction once allowed, but there are still ways.”
The Marian community is advised to interact in ways that follow social distancing to keep everyone safe and healthy.