BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — Despite the threat of COVID-19, college football team have begun group workouts.
Schools like Alabama and Auburn brought back players last week to be tested for COVID-19. At least five were reported positive at Alabama and three at Auburn.
Dr. Michael Saag with UAB Infectious Diseases said it’s okay to start group workouts again but there needs to be guidelines that players and coaches need to follow to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s inevitable that college students are going to be infected on campus, not surprised. The question is how well can we manage it, so the idea is frequent testing, screening for symptoms, those who are positive isolating in quarantine and then testing people how have been in contact with them over the last three or four days before they were diagnosed,” Saag said.
Jim Dunaway, a radio host on 94.5 FM JOX Roundtable, said everyone is excited about the season starting up and seeing one of the first big steps of the 2020 season.
Dunaway said he’s learned that there has been a lot of planning to get to this point.
“At some point they started working on protocols for when players got back to campus and had positive testing and protocols would be in place for when they get in the season and have positive test. The plan is not to shut down with positive testing, even when the season goes, and the SEC they created a special medical council. Each school has a doctor that is away from a sports training doctor or trainer or knee specialist, they each has a doctor that deals with the situations of COVID-19,” said Dunaway.
Saag said the positive tests at Alabama and Auburn were expected. However, he said the public should at least give the football season a try.
“I think we should make the effort and try it and monitor and if things get out of control, we may have to shut it down. We did that with the NBA season, this year try to restart that but I think we should give it a shot. To me, the biggest concern isn’t necessarily on the field although that is a concern, I’m worried about the stadium. Right now they’re talking and I’m hearing 50% of normal stands being filled. I’m worried that is too close because if they’re yelling, and people will do at a football game, they’re projecting a lot of virus,” he said.
Dunaway said they will treat every week of football as if it could be the last, but he certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.
“I do think we’ll have a football season,” he said. “I think financially it’s so important just like you heard the trustees from Alabama that they will have in person, on campus classes this week. You’re hearing that from Auburn it’s so financially important for schools to have students living on campus.”
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