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Wearing a mask won’t affect children’s performance on the ice: USask study

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Wearing a surgical mask during hockey will not impact children’s performance, according to a new study from the University of Saskatchewan amid the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study looked at the effect mask wearing had on youth hockey players between the ages of nine and 14.

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“COVID-19 is quite easily transmitted during hockey,” said principal investigator Phil Chilibeck.

“The players are playing close to each other, they’re breathing hard, and the arenas don’t have that great of ventilation.”

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Researchers found wearing a mask didn’t negatively affect players’ performance on the ice, and didn’t have much impact on their physiology.

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“A little bit lower oxygen levels at the muscle but not enough to impact their performance,” Chilibeck noted.

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However, he said some participants reported they felt like they were exercising harder.

“If they’re wearing masks while playing hockey, that’s something to consider. Maybe a coach would want to implement a shorter shift for those players,” he said.

Researchers said they hope the study encourages players, especially those unvaccinated, to mask up while taking part in the game.

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