Well, folks, the mask is certainly the topic of conversation this past week or two, and now that high school sports have started up again, it is in the middle of things even more.

The fact that the Minnesota State High School League has let us know that kids will have to wear masks during practice and in games has raised a lot of questions, so I went to a good source – Dr. Austin Krohn of Riverwood Healthcare – and asked him what he thought of things.

“Believe me, my biggest plus is that the kids get to play again, that’s most important to me, but there are some things to remember. From a kids’ standpoint, they will have to get used to a certain amount of discomfort, especially during the game itself. Right now for me, it’s risk versus benefit and I don’t think there is enough benefit for the inconvenience. In hockey, I’m worried about loss of vision and that players will get caught looking down instead of ahead. What about kids with significant asthma, will they be allowed to play without a mask or are they not able to participate at all?”

Dr. Krohn went on to say that he thinks the numbers will go down in the next couple weeks, along with more vaccines being available. Maybe the MSHSL will relax the mask rule, perhaps by mid-season or later.

“Kids are resilient and they are super happy just to be back playing and getting ready for games and matches,” Krohn said. “My hope is that winter sports will continue and spring sports will start on time and keep going. Sports are important to our young people and if they have to wear masks for an extended amount of time they will handle it, probably better than the rest of us.”

I’ve talked to many coaches in the area in the past two weeks and I’m getting the same comment – nobody likes it but everyone is handling it the best they can.

My biggest worry is how players will react once the actual games get underway.

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