What does insanity look like? It was on display Wednesday at the Summit High School track in Bend, Oregon where the mask police — the Oregon Health Authority — forced athletes to wear masks during competition.
That includes the 800-meter race — two laps around a track — where a runner named Maggie Williams was well on her way to crushing a school record in the event and, according to the Bend Bulletin, well on her way to a win when she started to fall just meters from the finish line.
“I was pushing so hard and everything went blurry and I just fell,” Williams told the newspaper. “But luckily I fell at the right spot and crossed the line with my head.”
The mask police will say she just pushed herself too far. Her coach, Dave Turnbull, thinks the mask rule is a ticking time bomb.
“I am concerned with the mask rule,” he told Bulletin reporter Brian Rathbone. “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 called Williams’ situation “complete oxygen debt.”
Long-time Oregonian columnist John Canzano unloaded on state officials Friday and called for the lifting on the dumb mask rule for track athletes.
“The OSAA ought to be in the business of protecting high school athletes. It should not leave the state coaches, parents and this columnist alone to demand a sensible fix. The Oregon Health Authority needs to ask why it’s fine with civilian runners being maskless outdoors but not good with children running on a track or a cross country meet,” Canzano wrote.
On a Facebook post, Turnbull posted an update explaining where the state is at heading into the weekend.
“The good news is that the OSAA is working hard with the OHA to remove the mask restrictions,” Turnbull wrote. “I sent them pics of Maggie hitting the ground. I warned them of this in a meeting over a month ago. Respiration requirements in events from 400 too 3K are far too high for masks. 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.”
What would the state do if Turnbull and other coaches just told their runners to compete without the masks? One could only imagine the mask police would try to have him jailed, removed from his teaching job and take his pension.
That said, Turnbull’s begging the state to lift its rules before someone is permanently injured over lack of oxygen.
“Look at the science of Covid transmission outside. It has been non-existent. Why are track athletes still required to run in a mask? What metrics are you following?” the track coach said Wednesday.
“I am so incredibly proud of this young lady for her efforts, but I’m worried about the next fall.”