WRESTLING WITH COVID: FIGHTING FOR A BREATH
BY HAU TUNG
As the slam continues, both wrestlers are tired from the match. With only seconds left in the match, boom goes the mat as one gets pinned. 1 2 3 counts the ref as the winner emerges from the floor breathless. Both shake hands and walk back to their sides with their masks back on.
Since the start of the COVID-19, pandemic mask mandates have been required in schools at all times except when eating lunch. So sports are no exception, especially in a close contact sport like wrestling. . The mask may inhibit the wrestler's ability to breathe during stamina training like running stairs or just regular running. This can also impact the amount of conditioning that the wrestlers are able to do and changes the amount of intense practices that they are able to have. Also forcing the coaches to change their routine and practices.
“I give credit to a lot of kids because it makes it 10 times harder to breathe and you can’t really function like you want to,” Coach Javier explained.
This was only the beginning of problems as the season started there were a lot of restrictions on what could be done. But the main one started during the thick of the pandemic.
“Last year during the thick of it, there was no season at all because of the close proximity and not being able to socially distance,” Jack Williamson, a Junior on the wrestling team at DSA, explained.
With there already being changes in rules and regulation, match days are also facing the same changes.
“During the match you're allowed to have the mask off but after the match you have to put them back on” Williamson stated.
With new protocols and regulations added to the new season, there were also concerns for the health of the wrestlers.
“Personally I feel safe and fine because I am vaccinated so I don't fear catching COVID” Williamson said.
There were a lot more problems with wrestling this year, but Coach does believe that they can make it to regionals and even states.
“If the guys keep putting in the hardwork and pushing themselves they can make.It the mindset ” Coach Javier concluded.
With new mandates having to be followed and other challenges piled on top of each other, the season is having a rough start. And with this year being anything but normal, it looks like it’s going to be an uphill battle. But Coach does have a message for everyone who's wrestling during COVID.
“You need to have the right mentality when you go into your match you can’t be afraid or get discouraged, we’re always gonna be there to motivate you and help you be the best wrestler you can be, so all you need to have is the right mindset“ Javier concluded.