Putting masks to the test

Garrett Short
Updated: February 01, 2021 01:21 PM
Created: January 14, 2021 11:11 PM

(ABC 6 News) - There has been concern over athletes wearing masks while competing, so Olmsted Medical Center decided to help show that masks are safe to wear while exercising.

Eric Pohl is a strength and conditioning coach for Olmsted Medical Center and Stewartville High School. His job has always been about putting the health of athletes first. That has been amplified during the pandemic.

"A lot of them have been doing nothing, so you definitely have to pay a little closer attention to their fitness level, to just how they look. And that's just my job to see that and spot that in a group and maybe take that person out and have them take a break," Pohl said.

Masks have been a contentious subject throughout the pandemic, so it's no surprise they spark heated conversations when it comes to high school athletes wearing them. But medical professional says masks are safe, even for athletes with asthma.

"Yes, it does feel harder to breathe, especially when you're exercising. But again, I think the bottom line is for 99 percent of people, they can wear a mask and exercise," Specialist of allergies and asthma Dr. David Lowe with Olmsted Medical Center.

Dr. Lowe acknowledges that it may feel more difficult to breathe when wearing a mask during exercise, but your body is still getting all the oxygen it needs. Ordinarily the human body sits between 95 and 100 percent oxygenation, which can be read with an oximeter.

After a workout with a mask on Thursday afternoon, the oximeter read 95, a healthy oxygen level in the blood.

"This type of workout, masks do not prohibit oxygen," ABC 6 Sports Reporter Garrett Short said.

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