NH high school coach fired for not requiring runners to wear masks

PEMBROKE, N.H. — Pembroke NH Academy Head Track and Field Coach Brad Keyes is out of a job. This week he learned that his athletic director was following guidance from the NHIAA, the state organization governing high school sports, and requiring his runners to wear masks during track meets.

Keyes said would not do that, and he was fired.

“I would not force the kids to wear masks in those races,” Keyes told Boston 25 News.

Keyes said during an interview that he believes runners, especially athletes with asthma or heart conditions, could risk their health by wearing masks while competing. He also does not believe the masks would do any good.

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“The chances of spread, outdoors, on a track, in the wind, in the sun, with athletes moving is tiny,” Keyes said. “And I think all the data I’ve seen backs that up.”

Pembroke Academy is a public high school south of Concord, N.H., which educates students from several towns. The athletic director did not answer our request for a response.

Coach Keyes said he does not regret risking his head coaching position over a mask mandate. He believes his point needs to be made.

“I don’t know if there is a coach in the state that is happy with these rules or think they actually make any sense,” Keyes said.

“I made that stand. I’m willing to pay that price and the words getting out, maybe something good will come out of it.”

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