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ND Football: COVID Impacts Irish

Despite controls in place to protect players and staff, the COVID virus has impacted the Irish in an unfortunate way. On Tuesday afternoon, news started leaking into the world of social media about practice being canceled. Irish social media coverage lit up like a tinder box. Then the questions started pouring in. Why is it canceled? Who is in isolation or quarantine? The whole situation came to a screeching halt a few hours later when a press release came out and announced Saturday’s game was canceled as well.

“A total of 94 COVID-19 tests were administered to Notre Dame Football student-athletes on Monday. Of those 94, there were seven positive tests, according to University Physician Dr. Matt Leiszler. Those seven student-athletes are in isolation and their close contacts have been/are being identified.” In consultation with the St. Joseph County Department of Health, the Notre Dame Football program has decided to pause all football-related activities until further testing is completed. Combined with last week’s testing results, a total of 13 players are currently in isolation, with 10 in quarantine.”

What Does All This Mean?

Mark Skol the Sports Director at WNDU had a Twitter post that broke down the number of players and their status. No names have been released by the University as it is personal information between the University of Notre Dame and the student-athletes.

To better answer this question, Shake Down The Thunder Sports reached out to the ACC Media Relations team and asked if it was ok to share information from the Report of the Atlantic Coast Conference COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group dated August 28, 2020 and the answer was yes. So the important part to understand is the policy and procedures for football student-athletes for returning to the playing field. In order to do that there are terms of importance to understand.

Test Standards

“Effective for competition against another institution as of August 1, 2020, the following minimum standards are required for ACC institutions to compete in athletics. Non-conference opponents shall meet these standards for the seven days prior to competition against an ACC team.”

“In the sport of football, all members of the football team (“Team Members”) and those that are in close contact with Team Members (as explained below) shall be tested three times each week beginning with the week of the first competition against an opposing team. One molecular (PCR) test must be administered within three (3) calendar days of the day of competition (e.g., Wednesday test prior to a Saturday game). A visiting team must have the results from this test prior to traveling to its competition site. Another test must be administered the day before competition by a third party identified by the Conference Office. Further, a test shall be administered within 48 hours of the conclusion of a game and may be either a molecular (PCR) or antigen test. All three tests shall have FDA approval or Emergency Use Authorization. A third-party will be available to assist each member institution with testing capacity, if necessary. Additional testing may be done at the institution’s discretion.”

Quarantine

“A student-athlete identified through contact tracing and required to quarantine for 14 days must complete the full quarantine before returning to activity. The MAG will update its guidance in this area if the CDC guidance changes.”

Isolation

“Pursuant to CDC guidance, a student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 shall be isolated for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms/positive test and at least 1 day (i.e., 24 hours) has passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement of respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath). A student-athlete’s medical treatment will be determined by institutional medical staff, and be considered unavailable for training, team/group activities or game play until the student-athlete has both completed necessary isolation and had a medical clearance by team physicians.”

Based on the MAG’s consultation with multiple cardiologists, at a minimum, every student-athlete, symptomatic or otherwise, who tested positive shall undergo a cardiac evaluation that includes an electrocardiogram (ECG), a troponin test, and an echocardiogram after isolation and before a phased return to exercise and re-acclimatization. If abnormalities are found during this battery of tests, the student-athlete will not be permitted to participate unless and until the abnormalities have cleared after additional screening and the student-athlete has received medical clearance from team physicians.

Impacts Of Quarantine And Isolation

Going back to those 23 players in in quarantine and isolation there impacts to future games besides the Wake Forest which has been rescheduled.

  • The two athletes that tested positive and in isolation from 9/12 maybe available now
  • The two athletes identified through contact tracing and in quarantine from 9/12 maybe available on 9/26
  • The four athletes that tested positive and in isolation from last week will be available 10 days after their initial isolation date which is not known
  • The six athletes identified through contact tracing and in quarantine from last week is unknown because no date given
  • The seven athletes that tested positive and in isolation from 9/21 maybe available on 10/1, that is the week before of FSU
  • The two athletes identified through contact tracing and in quarantine from 9/21 maybe available on 10/5 days before the FSU game

During Monday’s press conference and prior to Tuesday’s announcement about the game cancellation, Coach Kelly had this to say about what it takes for a player to return after being in isolation or quarantine. (Video Courtesy Of ND Fightin’ Irish Media)

The Wrap Up

In the end patience is the key of getting through the in and outs of isolation and quarantine. The coaching staff needs to prepare for both an opponent and the fact a player maybe taken off the field for contact tracing or a positive test. The team needs to focus on staying healthy and being ready to play their opponents. The most important thing all of this is the student-athletes health.

On top of that, the schedule just got a little bit tighter as the ACC Championship is now scheduled for December 19th. Any more slips in any schedule in the ACC may put that date in jeopardy and then you start messing with bowl season and the College Football Playoff schedule. If we only had a crystal ball to tell us what would happen. Let us know your thoughts or drop us a question.

Photo By Lisa Kelly Shake Down The Thunder Sports

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