(Update: Adding video, comments)
'It was absolutely terrifying,' mother says
PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Crook County School District says it's investigating what caused freshman Savannah Lay to collapse during a girls' basketball practice at Crook County High School Tuesday night. But she, her mother and her doctor believe they know why: the mask players must wear.
NewsChannel 21 spoke Wednesday with Lay, who says she's been playing since the age of 5 and had never experienced anything like this.
Lay, who is 16, says she and her teammates were all wearing masks during practice, but she found it increasingly difficult to breathe.
"I was having trouble breathing," Lay recalled. "We were doing just a couple drills that would normally be easy for me to do, and it was really hard for me to breathe, so I asked to take a break."
Lay says she headed to the locker room to try and catch her breath, but she began to gasp for air, then collapsed.
"It was at the point where I was gasping for air," Lay said. "One of my teammates went to get one of the coaches and then I blacked out, and then I woke up in the ambulance."
According to her mother, Jessica Lay, the coaches and a police officer were able to perform CPR to get her breathing again.
Lay added that the ER doctor said this was an isolated case of a lack of oxygen due to running and distress with a mask on.
"I almost lost my daughter last night," Lay said. "It was absolutely terrifying."
She also believes the situation could have been avoided.
"Our collegiate level basketball, our NBA basketball, WNBA -- they're playing without masks," Lay said. "They have to wear masks while they sit on the sideline and they're not running. So why is it any different for our high school and youth levels?"
According to OSAA guidelines:
- Statewide, masks, face coverings or face shields are required to be worn by all individuals at all times unless the individual: Is outdoors, competing in or practicing a non-contact sport, and maintains at least six (6) feet of distance from individuals outside of their household.
Lay says she knows her daughter wants to play, after all the delays and uncertainty, but she just can't let her out on a court if she's required to wear a mask.
"I can't risk losing my child over a mask," Lay said.
For now, the teen says she won't return to the court if she has to wear a mask.
"Honestly, I would just say it's just time for us to take a stand and just get this over with," Lay said. "I mean, if we all showed up to practice with no masks, what are they going to do? I just want everyone to be safe, and I don't think it's safe for anybody to do any physical activity in a mask."
And her mother echoes a similar sentiment.
"I just feel like what's it going to take," Lay said. "When is enough going to be enough? Is it going to take that a child dies for anybody to wake up?"
The incident brought echoes of Summit High School runner Maggie Williams, who was wearing a mask last month when she collapsed at the finish line of an event. The attention it brought that prompted the state to revise its mask mandate for outdoor athletic competition.