10 Mask Myths Debunked
Jan 1, 2021
Sports and COVID: The Face Mask Debate
There has been a lot of discussion in the past year regarding the need to wear face masks in certain situations such as when exercising outdoors or playing a soccer match when there isn’t a crowd in attendance. As the year went on, we saw many leagues detail their own set of COVID rules.
Whether you are on one side of the debate or the other, there are many mask myths that are in circulation in the sports community that need to be addressed. In this article, we will be addressing ten of the top myths about wearing masks while practicing sports.
Top 10 Mask Myths: Debunked
If No One on My Team Has Symptoms, We Don't Need to Wear Masks
This is false. As medical professionals have proven, there are many individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 while also being asymptomatic. In fact, over 20% of asymptomatic patients that test positive will remain symptom-free.
That is why it is important to practice social distancing while also wearing face masks in all situations, even when training or playing a match. Unless your soccer team is self-isolating with each other in a social bubble of its own, there is no guarantee that you or your teammates will be fully protected without the right protective face coverings.
If My Team Trains Outside, We Don't Need to Wear Masks
This is also false. While you do have more freedom in not wearing a face mask while outdoors, this is only true if you can do so in a non-crowded area. During soccer training, you and your teammates will inevitably be in close contact with each other whether blocking a pass or tackling another player meaning that physical distancing is not an option.
Additionally, as mentioned above, a teammate may be asymptomatic and as COVID-19 is an airborne virus it can easily spread from one person to another if masks are not being worn effectively.
Wearing A Mask Will Increase the Amount of Carbon Dioxide I Inhale During Practice, Making Me Sick
While some face masks do make you inhale more carbon dioxide than you would if exercising normally without a mask, there are solutions to prevent this.
The reason that many soccer players are apprehensive about wearing a sports face mask is due to the recycling of carbon dioxide. As we exercise, our breathing rate increases meaning that we require more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide.
With the use of a breathable mask insert, like the PowerAir mask insert, players can receive a steady supply of fresh air without having to worry about their breathing being restricted or falling ill due to the inhalation of too much carbon dioxide.
Masks Are Uncomfortable and Will Hinder My Performance
This is true. Masks can be uncomfortable to wear and do have an impact on your performance. Wearing a face mask while doing physical exercise requires you to breathe more to compensate for the breathing restrictions you experience. As this will change your breathing pattern; makes it harder for you to breathe in the oxygen you require, it inevitably impacts your performance level.
Here at Storelli, we are revolutionizing face masks for sports making it easier for athletes to perform and breathe effectively thanks to our breathable mask insert. This insert fits comfortably inside any approved mask and can be adjusted to sit flush with your face shape meaning you receive increased breathing comfort while also delivering maximum performance.
Masks Should Be Replaced Daily
While this statement is true in the event that you wear a disposable mask, for cloth face masks it is not necessary to dispose of them every day. However, they should be cleaned and washed on a regular basis especially if you’re using them during soccer games or practice.
Just like how your protective soccer gear gets dirty or begins to smell after a particularly demanding match, your face mask will also absorb any sweat or dirt on your face. Washing your mask regularly also ensures that you are further protected from using an item that may have droplets on them that are from a positive COVID patient.
Masks Won't Stay On For the Whole Game
Many young and older athletes believe that their mask won’t stay on for a whole game anyway so choose not to wear it in the first place. This should not be the first assumption. While some face masks may need to be readjusted from time to time, this is not an excuse to forgo wearing a mask while training with your soccer team.
If you are afraid of your mask not staying on for a whole game, choose a mask that you find is secure and comfortable. In most cases, it is not the physical exercise that is causing the mask to slip off, it is the mask itself.
COVID-19 Isn't Real Or Isn't as Bad as the Media Says. It Would Be Better for My Whole Team to Catch It and Move On (ie. Herd Immunity)
While there are many out there that believe COVID-19 is a hoax, it is far from that. The alarming infection rates and long-term health implications that are being seen across the world prove that herd immunity is not a viable solution for this virus.
Although you may think that it would be better for you and your teammates to get it and then move on with your training as normal, this won’t happen. The health and safety of soccer teams will be the number one priority of soccer coaches all over North America. In fact, by staying safe and abiding by recommended health guidelines you may be back to playing matches normally sooner rather than later.
Young Athletes Are Immune to Serious COVID-19 Symptoms
This mask myth is also false. As we have learned over the course of this pandemic, no age group is safe from developing serious COVID-19 symptoms. According to a CDC report released in October 2020, weekly COVID-19 cases among persons aged 18-25 increased 55% nationally in August alone. This infection rate has only increased as the pandemic has prolonged.
Many healthy young individuals, including athletes, have contracted the virus in the last year and a large percentage of those are or may be prone to suffering long-term health implications as a result. To cut a long story short, if you don’t want to be at risk of potentially serious COVID-19 symptoms, you need to protect yourself at all times.
Masks Aren't Masculine
Masks are designed to be functional for the use of all individuals, regardless of gender. Many social experts have discussed how some men’s aversion to wearing a mask may stem from the idea of ‘toxic masculinity.’ Regardless of your personal feelings, it is hard to ignore the safety that face masks provide.
As masks cover the mouth and nose, the wearing of one means that any respiratory droplets that you expel will not escape into the air, therefore, heightening the risk of another individual becoming infected. Likewise, wearing a mask also decreases your risk of catching the virus from an individual who has either tested positive or is asymptomatic.
It's Impossible to Social Distance During a Game Anyway, So Why Bother With a Mask
As we noted above, social distancing isn’t possible during a soccer game or during training. But, that also isn’t a reason to ignore health guidelines and not wear a mask at all. As encouraged by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, you should always wear adequate face coverings in crowded areas where it is not possible to keep a distance of 6 feet from another individual.
This also applies to the soccer pitch. If you know that you’ll be in close contact with another player, you must ensure that you wear a mask to give yourself the best chance of not contracting the virus.If an aversion to wearing a sports face mask stems from not wanting to hinder your performance, thinking that the mask will cause you to inhale more CO2 or that the mask will be uncomfortable, consider investing in a PowerAir breathable mask insert today!