Senator Gregg Schmedes Urges Health Secretary to Remove Mask Mandate for Youth Sports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 22, 2021

Contact: Joaquin Romero

joaquin.romero@nmlegis.gov

(505) 506-5798

Senator Gregg Schmedes Urges Health Secretary to Remove Mask Mandate for Youth Sports

Request follows recent story of high school runner who collapsed during masked cross country race

SANTA FE – Senator Gregg Schmedes, M.D., (District 19-Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Torrance) today sent a letter to Secretary of Health, Dr. Tracie Collins, urging her to remove the mask mandate for youth sports. Senator Schmedes’ request comes on the heels of a recent KRQE news story regarding a Rio Rancho high school runner who collapsed during a masked cross country competition.

“As we enter the summer months and as temperatures rise, it is more important than ever that we remove the mask requirement for children competing in sports,” said Senator Schmedes, a board certified ENT. “Under the current state COVID-Safe Practices, intercollegiate and professional athletes are not required to wear masks while on the court or field. It only makes sense that our children would be given the same freedom.”

A recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that masks led to a 14 percent decrease in exercise time and a 29 percent decrease in maximal oxygen consumption. The study concluded, “Compared with no mask, participants reported feeling increasingly short of breath and claustrophobic at higher exercise intensities while wearing a cloth face mask.”

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