My name is Bradley Keyes. I was fired two weeks ago as head coach of the Pembroke Academy Track & Field team for refusing to force my athletes to wear masks while training and racing (races from the 100m to the 2 mile).
You may have read about it (Concord Monitor, Union Leader, Concord Monitor), or seen coverage of it (WMUR).
The story quickly went from local, to regional, to national (The Tucker Carlson Show).
You can find out all of the details at PATrackAndField.com, including my initial email that started all of this off – Fire Me If You Must and My Farewell Message email.
A lot of parents, athletes, and coaches are very upset. There is currently an online petition signed by over 2200 people calling for the removal of the athlete mask mandates.
The NHIAA ‘recommendations’ which have become mandates affect thousands of New Hampshire student-athletes, yet not a single school administrator or NHIAA representative has stood up to explain why these ‘recommendations’ were made and accepted.
I believe the reason is because the athlete mask mandates are unjustifiable. It is impossible to give a valid health related reason (either to the athletes directly or society at large) for why masks are needed for things like
- tennis players when they are 30 to 60 apart from any ones,
- for high jumpers alone on a jumping apron
- for 400m runners in lanes on a large track outdoors in the sun and wind
Last week I sent the NHIAA a set of questions which remain unanswered:
- Who are the members of the Sports Medicine Committee that approved these ‘recommendations’ ?
- What are the qualifications of each of the members of the Sports Medicine Committee ?
- What were the number of votes for and against each of the ‘recommendations’ (assuming there were votes) ?
- Are there meeting minutes from the meetings about, and the votes for, each of the ‘recommendations’ ?
- Why did the Sports Medicine Committee disregard the following:
- WHO guidelines
- “WHO advises that people should not wear masks during vigorous intensity physical activity (143) because masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably
- (Yes. The actual document says ‘vigorous intensity physical activity’)
- Source: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak/
- Governor Sununu’s Executive Order #74,which states
- 5 – This Order shall not apply to the following:
- a) Educators, students, and staff within K-12 schools;
- d) Any person engaged in physical strenuous physical activity;
- (Yes. That is the EXACT wording on the official web site – physical is used twice.)
- WHO guidelines
- What negative health impacts to the athletes were these recommendations meant to prevent ?
- What were the likelihood of these negative health impacts happening ?
- What support or evidence – scientific or common sense – did the committee rely on in determining these possible negative health impacts
I think the parents and athletes of New Hampshire deserve answers to these questions.
But most of all the athletes deserve to have a spring season where they can run and play without wearing masks.