by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – Football season is back in session for the Big Ten Conference! The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) voted unanimously to continue the Big Ten football season beginning October 23rd and 24th.
In addition to the big announcement, the COP/C also stated that they would be implementing specific medical protocols for the student-athletes in order for them to continue their season. Some of the medical protocols include daily antigen testing for the student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and all others who are present daily for practices and games as well as enhanced cardiac screening, and a new “data-driven” approach when it comes to making decisions about both practices and competitions.
All testing and results have to be completed and recorded before each individual practice and game. Those student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test, according to the COP/C. All those student-athletes who test positive will have to complete a comprehensive cardiac exam, which will include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram, and a Cardiac MRI. Before being allowed to return to play after a positive COVID-19 test, the student-athlete has to sit out for a minimum of 21 days and MUST also get the okay from the cardiologist selected by the university.
The COP/C said in the press release on the Big Ten website that each Big Ten school will select a Chief Infection Officer (CInO) who will be in charge of gathering and reporting COVID-19 data. The data given by each CInO will be used to make decisions about both practices and competitions.
Both Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors, Northwestern University President, and Chair of the Return to Competition Task Force Steering Committee, and Kevin Warren, Big Ten Commissioner, spoke about how important their new medical protocols are and how much they appreciate the Big Ten’s dedication to its student-athletes.
“From the onset of the pandemic, our highest priority has been the health and the safety of our students. The new medical protocols and standards put into place by the Big Ten Return To Competition Task Force were pivotal in the decision to move forward with sports in the conference,” Morton Schapiro said, “We appreciate the conference’s dedication to developing the necessary safety procedures for our students and the communities that embrace them.”
“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” Kevin Warren said, “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force has accomplished to ensure the health, safety, and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”
Daily testing for Big Ten student-athletes is set to begin on September 30th.
To read the full press release on the resuming of Big Ten football click here.
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