‘I just want to play’: Teams now wearing masks in accordance with KSHSAA guidelines

Coronavirus in Kansas

SEDGWICK, Kan. (KSNW) – When it comes to high school sports, masks or other face coverings could soon be as common as wearing a uniform.

The state’s athletic association is sticking with the governor’s new mask mandate.

“It is pretty tough, but you will get used to it,” says Andale High School Senior Cayden Winter.

The Andale football team isn’t talking about the heavy reps at Monday’s workout.

“Little hard to breathe but it ain’t too bad,” adds Senior Chris Burks.

Winter and Burks are talking about the masks they now have to wear inside during strength and conditioning, in accordance with KSHSAA guidelines.

“Just on the inside,” says Burkes. “Outside, we spread it out on the track. on our lanes, we spread out but when we come inside we have to put them on.”

It’s one of the first times teams across the state have to add the face coverings in order to meet and practice.

“We are just trying to be smart and trying to do the best we can. I think at the end of the day kids are going to get COVID. I mean that is the bottom line,” says Andale High School Coach Dylan Schmidt. “I feel like we are being safe, and there are other things involved like sanitizers and wiping down bars.”

The only time masks are not required is when athletes can avoid close contact or they are doing high-intensity activities and activities where a mask would get wet. At Monday’s workout, guys were definitely sweating, but they’re willing to do whatever it takes to play.

“Just roll with the punches. I guess that is what you have to do in life,” Winter added.

East High Head Coach Ene Apkan, along with the rest of USD 259, is now having all practices outside with coaches dawning the masks too. Each team has one goal in mind, save the season.

“Realistically, I just want to play and the kids to play so whatever it takes to get that done,” said Apkan.

The USD 259 Athletic Director Jay Means says the school is considering face shield attachments so players can have safe, close contact.

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