Carlie Bringhurst’s high school basketball team, the Miami-Yoder Buffaloes, set out to play what everyone thought was a normal basketball game on Thursday night, or as “normal” as a basketball game could be with high school athletes wearing masks, no visiting team parents allowed, and no medical personnel on standby.
The home team, Kiowa High School, hosted the Buffaloes and did not permit any visiting parents to attend the game, not standard practice, even during the COVID-19 era.
Additionally, according to Carlie, Kiowa referees required the girls to wear masks more stringently than most other schools.
Because wearing masks during basketball, a game that requires endurance and exertion is so difficult for most players, referees and coaches allow some leeway regarding masks.
Carly can often pull her mask beneath her nose when she starts to feel like she cannot breathe. At Kiowa High School, though, referees and coaches continuously told the girls to pull their masks up, ensure all areas of their faces were covered during the game.
Since Carlie was struggling to breathe and unable to relieve her struggles by pulling down her mask, she and her mother feel that her breathing continued to worsen throughout the game. Carlie, an asthmatic, suffered a massive and terrifying asthma attack at the basketball game Thursday. Unlike pre-COVID-19, her mother, Melissa Bringhurst, was an hour away in Elizabeth, Colorado, unable to assist her daughter during her medical event.
Had Melissa been permitted to attend her daughter’s basketball game, she believes she would have mitigated the medical emergency Carlie experienced. Unfortunately, Carlie had to wait for over half an hour while an ambulance traveled from Elizabeth to Kiowa to transport her to a hospital in Castle Rock. During that time, her fear exacerbated her already worsening breathing.
As her mother, Bringhurst explained, she can recognize the signs of hypoxia and an impending asthma attack in her daughter; she could have offered her an inhaler, encouraged her to rest, and removed her from the game to get fresh air since the referees wouldn’t allow Carlie to pull her mask below her nose, let alone her mouth.
And while Carlie Rae was released from the hospital and is doing medically okay, Melissa raises liability.
What if Carlie were not okay? What if the situation had escalated?
What if Carlie didnt survive the incident?
She was forced to wear a mask that prohibited her breathing while playing a basketball game a world away from her mother, who couldn’t attend, unlike home team parents, because of COVID-19 restrictions. Those restrictions hurt kids more than help them, however.
Masks are required during high school basketball games in Colorado, via an American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation adopted by CHSAA.
Players across the state have voiced contempt at the incredibly ill-founded rule, which is arbitrary at best, discriminatory, and medically disastrous at worst. CHSAA football players don’t have to wear masks if they wear helmets; apparently, the family of viruses wreaking havoc on the minds of CHSAA is not deadly enough to escape football helmets.
As Melissa Bringhurst adds, professional and college basketball players don’t wear masks during games, so why do high school athletes have to wear them?
COVID-19 spread has been lower amongst school aged-kids than any other group of people, yet they’re expected to keep masks on their faces during a strenuous basketball game, while adult basketball players are not?
As Melissa points out, Carlie Rae and the Buffaloes played a basketball game last night at the same time as the Denver nuggets. While Carly suffered a disastrous medical event, precipitated by masks, without her mother present thanks to arbitrary COVID-19 restrictions, the Nuggets played safely for two hours without masks.
We reached out to CHSAA, and we have not received a response. At a minimum, we call for all parents, including visitors, to be allowed at all high school sporting events. While Carlie has recovered and was lucky not to have suffered much more serious consequences of nonsensical COVID-19 rules, the next child’s medical event may turn out much worse.
Kids should never be forcibly separated from their parents, even if for a basketball game, and allowing this to continue is a slap in the face to all parents, not just athletes.
There is a massive liability for CHSAA and Kiowa High School or any entity that separates parents from children for any reason, leaving parents unable to tend to their kids’ medical needs.
Masks are arbitrary restrictions on children, and the negative consequences of masks, as displayed last night, outweigh any positive effects. Masks are useless against viruses; there is no well-founded reason to force kids to wear them, especially during a strenuous game like basketball.
If the Denver Nuggets aren’t forced to wear them during games, then Carlie, a high school-aged asthmatic, should not be forced to restrict her breathing.