Mask Mandates Updated in Oregon After Runner Collapses

The Oregon Health Authority updated its mask guidance recently for non-contact sports following a high school runner collapsing during the home stretch of a race in Bend, OR.

As part of the updated guidelines, those participating in non-contact sports will be allowed to remove masks during competition.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

“We are revising the current guidance on the use of masks outdoors during competition,” The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said in a statement. “The guidance will allow people to take off face coverings when competing in non-contact sports outdoors and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others and the other virus protective protocols.”

The time of the shift in guidelines conveniently came after a video surfaced of a high school track athlete collapsing on the track in the final moments of a race in late April.

According to a report from KATU-2 news,  Maggie Williams was competing in the 800-meter event for Summit (OR) High School on a day that was described as “one of the nicest days in the past few months,” by Williams’ head coach Dave Turnbull.

After completing the first lap in 61 seconds, Williams was gunning for the school record of 2:10 in the 800-meter event. But as she was closing in on the finish line, Williams collapsed, with her head crossing the line at 2:08.

Video of the incident can be seen here.

Her coach, Turnbull, told KATU-2 that he believed the collapse was due to a lack of access to oxygen because of the mask.

“I knew it was from oxygen debt,” Turnbull said to KATU-2. “It had nothing to do with her conditioning. She ran a 2:11 a few weeks ago in Chandler, AZ, and we didn’t have masks, and she finished standing up, walking around like no big deal.”

Turnbull added that Williams struggled to recognize coaching staff after the collapse, and she couldn’t get up to walk around until 15-20 minutes post finish.

Before news of the OHA changes but following Williams’s collapse, Turnbull said he wouldn’t let Williams, or any of his athletes, compete in the 400, 800, 1500, or 3000-meter races if they had to wear masks.

The OHA defines non-contact, outdoor sports as cross country, track & field, tennis, swimming, cheerleading, and dance.

To read the full story from KATU-2 news, click here