Oregon HS coach demands end to mask mandate after athlete collapses: 'We're talking about oxygen needs'

Turnball said the mask mandate is dangerous for athletes who can't release carbon dioxide if their faces are covered

A high school track coach in Oregon is calling for an end to mandated mask-wearing during competition after one of his athletes collapsed from what he believes to be an "oxygen deficit."

Summit High School track runner Maggie Williams broke a school record last Thursday in the 800-meter run, which went viral after she was seen stumbling across the finish line before collapsing to the ground. Williams told Fox News' Laura Ingraham that she suffered a temporary loss of consciousness at the time, and believes the mask is to blame. 


"She’s never collapsed at any event before. This was due to an oxygen deficit from the mask," Summit coach Dave Turnbull told "America Reports" Thursday.

Turnbull argued that while he is not "anti-masks" in general, the state's guidelines for outdoor sports "absolutely makes 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. "

Turnbull said the mask mandate is dangerous for athletes who can't 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 asserted.

Turnbull said that he reached out to officials and school district leaders to discuss the controversial policy, but received no response. The longtime coach said he feels a responsibility to protect the safety of his athletes, and refuses to further endanger their lives.

"As a coach and a teacher we are charged with the safety of the students which is why we wear the mask and school or in social situations outside," he explained. " But If I am endangering the life of an athlete, her well-being, by wearing a mask, I don’t think I can do that. I will make the best decisions for our kids, their safety and protecting them. 


"I know that is what the parents of the athletes expect me to do," Turnbull said, "so whatever that entails is what I’m going to do."