After one of his students collapsed from what he claims was an “oxygen deficit,” an Oregon high school track coach calls for an end to mandatory mask-wearing during competition.
Maggie Williams, an 800-meter runner from Summit High School, fell as she approached the finish line, falling to the ground as she tried to breathe through the cloth mask she was required to wear at the time due to the state’s regulations.
Williams told Fox News that she had a brief loss of consciousness at the time and that she thought the mask is to blame.
Even though athletes participated in the open air and engaged in strenuous exercise, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) wanted them to wear face masks.
According to a report from Breitbart, Williams said that she “was pushing so hard and everything went blurry and I just fell,” “But luckily I fell at the right spot and crossed the line with my head [when the time is taken].”
Although Dave Turnbull, Williams’ coach, is not “anti-masks” in general, he believes the state’s outdoor sports guidelines “absolutely make no sense.”
“It makes me question the people in charge of these rules, not understanding that we are talking about oxygen needs,” he said. “The school, myself, we are not antimask. We are pro-common sense, pro-science. Take a look at the transmission rates in our country, it does not support mask-wearing outside in competition.”
The mask mandate, according to Turnbull, is harmful to athletes because they can not release carbon dioxide if their faces are covered.
“I believe that is what happened with Maggie,” he said, “so we would like clarification on the language to say listen, distance running, start at your starting line, have the mask on and as soon as the race starts, drop it and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You are moving, you’re not going to transmit the virus,” he insisted.
Turnbull also raised deep concerns about masking athletes at the time of Williams’ collapse, which he said was caused by “complete oxygen debt.”
“This is what I am worried about, and I said this at the beginning of the season. You get a kid running the 800 with a mask on, it is actually dangerous. They don’t get the oxygen that they need. This rule needs to change.”
Turnbull then petitioned the OHA to overturn their decision to protect his athletes’ welfare, sending the department photos of Williams “hitting the ground” due to the mask.
“I warned them of this in a meeting over a month ago. Respiration requirements in events from 400 [meters] to 3K are far too high for masks,” Turnbull explained.
“Moreover, carbon dioxide isn’t fully removed from the mask upon inhalation. The very reason we wear the masks to protect others is now a liability for the athlete when they increase respiration to the levels these athletes need,” he added.
About a week later, the OHA announced new guidance that “will allow people to take off face coverings when competing in non-contact sports outdoors and maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and the other virus protective protocols.”
The department added that masks would be needed during training as well as before and after competitions.