COVID-19 hasn’t impacted college football too much since being declared a pandemic in March, but that streak appears to be over.
As many as five (!) Alabama football players have tested positive for COVID-19, according to BamaInsider.com. The team had just returned to campus this week.
At least one player that tested positive attended player-led workouts Tuesday and Wednesday, though he was asymptomatic, per Al.com. In fact, CBS 42’s Simone Eli reports none of the players that tested positive showed symptoms at all. A source told Eli players infected include a lineman, a couple of “skill position players” and a quarterback.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes is a top priority. Resources and protocols are in place to ensure they receive the best medical care when returning to campus,” the university said in a statement Thursday. “Due to privacy laws we cannot share information specific to the health of our student-athletes.”
In mid-April, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was cautiously optimistic about having a college football season in 2020 despite the coronavirus outbreak. Though he didn’t want players to be “put in harm’s way,” he hoped college football could find a way to push through the crisis and hold its season. He’s even done a couple of public service announcements preaching safety amid the pandemic.
But now, at least five players on his team have contracted the virus, and they aren’t alone. Three Oklahoma State University football players have tested positive for the virus shortly after returning to campus, as well.
What comes next? Who knows.
Thumbnail photo via Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; A view of the helmet of Alabama Crimson Tide after they beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2018 CFP national championship college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports