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Last Wednesday in Bend, Oregon, Summit High School held its first high school track and field meet in nearly two years. The meet had a different look this time around, as athletes were required to wear masks while competing, as required by a mandate from the Oregon Health Authority.
As reported by “Outkick the Coverage,” runner Maggie Williams started to collapse as she approached the finish line.
“I was pushing so hard and everything went blurry and I just fell,” Williams told the Bend Bulletin. “But luckily I fell at the right spot and crossed the line with my head.”
Williams was running in the girls 800 meters — mask on — while on her way to breaking the school record in the event.
According to her coach, Dave Turnbill, the mask wearing rule was the reason for her collapse across the finish line.
“I am concerned with the mask rule,” Turnbull told the Bulletin. “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.”
“I’ve been doing this for 31 years, I’ve never seen anybody basically lose consciousness,” Turnbull continued. “I’ve never seen that in the way it happened with Maggie.”
Oregonian columnist John Canzano allowed his disgust with the mask mandate to be known in a Friday article titled “State leadership fails to see finish line with high school running mask rule.”
“Distance runners are being required to wear masks while competing,” Canzano wrote. “Most of them are fine wearing them while warming up. But once they’re on the track, outdoors, competing in open air, the science just doesn’t support the necessity. In fact, the mandate is now raising questions about athlete safety and oxygen depletion.”
“Maggie Williams was cruising toward that school record on Thursday. Her first lap was a thing of beauty,” Canzano continued. “The second one should have ended with her breaking the finish line on her feet, gasping but with a smile. Instead, she ran out of oxygen. Her brain shut down. Her lungs quit. She landed on her forehead. Couldn’t hear. Couldn’t see. Her body crashed across the finish line. I wonder if state leaders will notice.”
According to Canzano, Oregon is the only state in the country that requires masks for high school runners in track and cross country.
The CDC currently states that athletes should “wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose” while playing team sports.
In addition to wearing a mask, the CDC advises individuals to practice social distancing, including when outdoors.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News.