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Runner Collapses, State Quickly Revises Mask Rule

Video shows the moment a record-setting high school athlete collapses after wearing a mask while running in competition

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Maggie Williams, a junior on the Summit High School track team, broke a school record in the 800-meter last Thursday.

Her moment of glory has been somewhat overshadowed a by moment of concern – Williams passed out as she stumbled her way across the finish line. She and her coach say the mask is to blame, and now the Oregon Health Authority is updating its guidelines.

Williams ran the 800-meter race in 2:08:45, which beat the previous school record of 2:10:54 set in 2019.

“I found out a couple minutes after my race, when I had recovered from my fall,” Williams told NewsChannel 21 Monday. “So super exciting for me.”

The fall Williams is referring to happened during the last seven meters of the race, just as she was about to finish.

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“I felt like I just wasn’t being able to get a full breath,” she said. “Multiple times of that happening, not being able to get enough air — I just felt super-dizzy, and then eventually passed out.”

Williams said her lack of oxygen is a result of the mask she’s been required to wear during competition, under OHA guidelines for outdoor sports.

“In the past, this has never happened,” Williams said. “Then this race that I was wearing a mask, it did happen, which I don’t think is a coincidence.” Her coach, Dave Turnbull, echoed that belief Monday morning.

“She just ran a 2:11 in Arizona without a mask on,” Turnbull said. Three seconds faster from my experience isn’t going to cause a kid to hit the track. When you’re in a mask, it certainly does.”

Turnbull said that after 31 years of experience, he’s confident this wasn’t a conditioning issue — it was a mask issue …  Click here to read more. 

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