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2021 Mask Clarification for Football and Lacrosse

This is clarification to the NCHSAA Email sent out on January 12th.

Short Story: All football players MUST wear a mask at all times, even if they have a helmet on and a mouthpiece in.

After the email from the NCHSAA on January 12th, there was some confusion on whether or not players have to wear a face mask to play football. Here is the wording from the email.

The sports of men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and football are the only NCHSAA sports in which a properly fitted helmet and/or mouthguard are required for student-athlete participation.  As detailed in Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order #181, Section 2.5 makes allowances in regard to the mandatory face covering mandate as it relates to these sports: 

2.5. Face Coverings and Exercise. People must wear Face Coverings while exercising if they are either:

·         Outdoors and within six (6) feet of someone who does not reside in the exercising person’s household; or

·         Indoors and not within their own home 

However, people need not wear a Face Covering while exercising if:

·         …They are wearing equipment like a mouthguard or helmet and are having trouble breathing… 

Using this information, please be advised that face coverings are required.  An exception is made in the sports of men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and football if the athlete is having trouble breathing because of wearing a mouthguard and/or helmet.  Anytime the helmet/mouthguard is not being worn a face covering must be worn.  All coaches and other support staff must wear a face covering at all times.

There is confusion on whether or not players have to wear a facemask if the have a helmet on. One of our area athletic directors sent an email to Tra Waters for clarification. Here is the email:

Hey Tra, hope things are going well. I wanted to get clarification on the mask mandate sent out yesterday. 

If our football and lacrosse players are wearing helmets/mouth pieces, they are NOT required to wear masks. However, anytime they’re on the sidelines or practicing without helmets, they ARE required to wear masks, correct?

Soccer and other outdoor sports are required to wear masks at this point until we get further notice.

Tra’s Response

The directive given to us by NCDHHS is that masks are required for everyone at all times.  IF a student that participates in a sport that mandates a mouthpiece and helmet has trouble breathing, they are exempted from the rule on an individual basis.  They wanted to make sure that part was clear. 

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