Notre Dame coach says coronavirus ‘spread like wildfire’ on football team

The head coach of Notre Dame said that the coronavirus outbreak happened because of a game and pre-game meal

The head coach of the Notre Dame football team confirmed that an outbreak of the coronavirus originated with two specific events with his team.

The University of Notre Dame announced that 18 players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. It led to the postponement of a weekend game against Wake Forest University. Notre Dame responded to the outbreak by placing 25 football players in isolation and 14 of the Fighting Irish are now in quarantine.

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Brian Kelly, head coach of the fabled Notre Dame team, told ESPN on Tuesday that the outbreak traced back to two specific events. The first involved a game against South Florida almost two weeks ago on September 19 and a pregame meal.

Kelly said that a player became sick with dehydration and threw up. The player later tested positive for the respiratory virus.

“In trying to discern the difference between somebody who may be dehydrated in a game and having the effects of COVID on the sideline, [it] becomes very tricky,” Kelly said. “Just being vigilant and understanding that this thing can hide in so many different areas make it a tricky proposition, even if you’re doing all of the right things.

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Camping World Bowl - Notre Dame v Iowa State
Datrone Young #2 of the Iowa State Cyclones defends a pass in the end zone against Chase Claypool #83 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the second half of the Camping World Bowl at Camping World Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Orlando, Florida.(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Kelly recounted that the team didn’t have one meal together and their actions were rushed.

“Everything was grab and go. We get into our game situation where we have pregame meal together, and that cost us. Big. We had somebody who was asymptomatic, and it spread like wildfire throughout our meeting area where we were eating and then it got guys in contact tracing,” he said.

Kelly admitted that it was difficult trying to rein in the health pandemic.

“We have to think about giving antigen tests on the sidelines for stuff that we never thought of,” he said. “That’s the kind of shifting sands in this whole thing, learning in-game what do you do, what don’t you do.”

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Kelly added that “college football is in good shape,” and that they were now aware of what to keep an eye on. He placed an emphasis on social distancing.

“The area we need to continue to keep an eye on and be vigilant is your own team as it relates to social distancing, masks, when you’re eating, things of that nature,” he said.

“The basic parameters of this are still in play, and you’ve got to be diligent with them, even when it’s right up to game time, and that’s the lesson we learned.”

As theGrio reported, there has been difficulty in navigating college football this season due to the pandemic. COVID-19 is generally less fatal in young adults. However, the disease has been known to cause long-term coronary issues in athletes. Jamain Stephens, a defensive lineman at the California University of Pennsylvania, died earlier this month from complications of COVID-19. He was only 20.

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