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Las Cruces student athletes ask New Mexico to drop mask requirement

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- In the triple-digit Las Cruces heat, the Gibson brothers move quickly on the soccer field and sweat profusely.

"You’re breathing out hot air because you’re running and it’s coming back in," said Whitney Gibson, a sophomore soccer player at Centennial High School. "It just becomes harder to breathe.”

Along with his brother Wyatt, Whitney wants the state to drop the mask requirement on the field.

“It’s really, really frustrating to see my kids struggle in the heat," said Piper Gibson, their mother. "They struggled with the masks on, even before they started playing soccer in the summer heat.”

“We understand that it’s hot outside," said Kelly Jameson, a Las Cruces Public Schools spokeswoman. "We understand that in particular for our student athletes, it can be very difficult to perform at that level with the heat and a mask on. Unfortunately, the district is strapped to follow the guidance of the state.”

New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase has said that New Mexico is waiting for guidance from the federal government before changing the requirements across the state.

"We're hoping to get additional information for how to plan re-entry to schools from the CDC," Scrase said recently. "We need those answers, so I think you're going to see us more align with CDC guidance."

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Gibson family is participating in an #UNmaskNMKids protest outside the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library.

"It’s like being waterboarded," Gibson told ABC-7. "Your mask is so sweaty that you can’t even breathe in the oxygen because your mask is wet.”

Education / New Mexico / News / Sports / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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