After just four days of voluntary practices the University of Texas football team has 13 players who have tested positive for COVID-19 as another 10 Longhorns have been placed in self-quarantine as a preventative measure.
Two of 13 positive tests came last week, when 58 players returned to campus to begin their off-season training program. The players have not been identified, publicly.
In total, 27 percent of the Longhorns roster is now being quarantined.
‘Including two reported from initial surveillance testing last week, as of Thursday, Texas Athletics has had 13 total Football student-athletes who have confirmed positive COVID-19 PCR test results or are presumed positive, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine & Performance Allen Hardin said,’ the statement began.
‘All 13 are now self-isolating. Through contact tracing, 10 more Football student-athletes are in self-quarantine, all of whom are asymptomatic at this time. In addition, Texas has identified four Football student-athletes who have tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody. Any additional updates will be reported as that information becomes available.’
The Big 12 Conference allowed teams to begin voluntary workouts on Monday.
Similarly, Kansas State officials have reported that eight Wildcats players out of the 130 who were tested are infected with coronavirus.
Wednesday the NCAA approved plans for an extended preseason in order to give teams more time for walk-throughs, which are like low-impact practices aimed at teaching players rather than conditioning them.
College teams traditionally practice in the spring as well, but those sessions were cancelled this year amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the White House task force on coronavirus, told CNN on Thursday that the NFL needs to be in a ‘bubble,’ similar to the one created by the NBA at Disney World in Florida, if it hopes to return safely.
‘Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,’ Fauci said. ‘If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.’
Texas reported new record highs of new cases and hospitalizations Wednesday. The state passed the 3,000 mark in new cases for the first time with 3,129. The 2,793 COVID-19 patients in the hospital is an 85 percent increase since Memorial Day.
Governor Greg Abbott has insisted Texas hospitals can handle the rising numbers of patients and he has routinely touted available hospital space and intensive care beds as proof hospitals won’t be overwhelmed.
On Wednesday, Texas health officials reported 13,815 hospital beds available overall with 1,473 ICU beds.
Abbott also said this week Texans have become lax in their personal social distancing efforts and other measures, such as wearing masks, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 outbreak has also had an effect on other NCAA football teams.
The Southern Heritage Classic has canceled the September 12 game scheduled between Tennessee State and Jackson State in the first known Division I cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I know this is a great disappointment to many who consider SHC one of the major highlights of the year,’ founder Fred Jones said in Wednesday’s announcement. ‘The health and safety of our attendees along with that of our staff, sponsors, and others is a top priority.’
This is the second cancellation in three years for the Southern Heritage Classic, which is played at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The 2018 game was called due to weather.
Officials are offering refunds, and Jones said he encourages following safety and social distancing precautions so everyone can return to usual activities as soon as possible.
Meanwhile a West Virginia player tested positive on Monday – the first day of voluntary workouts.
The school’s athletic department said in a statement that contact tracing identified other football players who could have been exposed to the athlete. Both the player who tested positive and the others he may have been in contact with will isolate themselves for 14 days, the statement said.
Voluntary workouts will continue for players who have tested negative for the virus, the statement said.
When West Virginia begins its fall semester on August 19, students must wear masks on campus, including in class. Students, faculty and staff must be tested for the virus before they return to campus and complete a coronavirus education course.
SOURCE: Daily Mail by Alex Raskin, AP