The Morning Call
New mandate won’t affect Birds
New COVID-19 regulations enacted by the state of Pennsylvania this week had some people believing the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and all other athletes working within this state would have to wear masks even while competing.
The mandate seemed to go above and beyond the NF L’ s intensive COVID-19 protocol, which is due to go into effect on Saturday and remain for the rest of the season.
But a spokesperson from Gov.
Tom Wolf’s office confirmed on Friday that players fall under one of the exceptions that allows for removal of masks if they constitute health threats.
“Wearing a mask in addition to a mouth guard and a helmet would likely create a medical issue for the athlete, whether the athlete is a professional or youth player, even if a previous medical issue was not present,” Lyndsay Kensinger wrote in a statement. “For example, the CDC says that ‘wearing a mask with these types of protective equipment is not safe if it makes it hard to breathe.’
“There are other sports where there are similar concerns that a mask would create a medical issue where one would otherwise not exist in an athlete. For example, it should also be obvious that wearing a mask while swimming presents an imminent health issue.
“According to Section 3, the athlete would be asked to work through alternatives that would reduce or eliminate the respiratory droplets that would impact others in proximity. If the sport, equipment, or exertion level does not allow for face covering to be worn safely, then the athlete should not wear a face covering.”
Coach Doug Pederson said the team was aware of the new regulations but didn’t feel they would pose a problem.
“It’s something we’re going to explore,” Pederson said before Friday’s practice. “I don’t know if necessarily they can wear a face covering that covers their mouth andnose. I mean, there’s amouthpiece that’s a mouth guard, that’s involved, there’s all kinds of things that we’d have to work through. But I would anticipate maybe if they’re out of the game on the sideline, yeah, I could see uswearing the masks.”
The NFLannounced this week that all teams must use intensive protocol for the rest of the season because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The league’s stricter mandates call for virtual meetings with few exceptions, grab-and-go meals and no more than 10 players in the weight room at one time, among other things.
The Eagles play at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. They will play their next homegameon Monday, Nov. 30, against the Seattle Seahawks.