School Coaches Dealing With Breakthrough COVID Instances | Sports activities Information
By GARY B. GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Kentucky (AP) – Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari said he contracted COVID-19 after being vaccinated, but noted that he is relieved that the shot did its job and him leaves with mild symptoms.
Other notable breakthrough cases have occurred in college football where vaccinated players and coaches tested positive. These include runner-up Georgia and Mississippi; the Bulldogs could do without multiple players in their next game and Rebels coach Lane Kiffin missed his team’s start after testing positive.
Calipari announced Tuesday that he tested positive ahead of the July NBA draft, deterring the Hall of Famer from their annual ritual of attending the celebrations to see his critically acclaimed players achieve dreams into the first round to go. His announcement follows Georgia soccer player Kirby Smart’s reveal on Monday that “three or four” players in the secondary Bulldogs with COVID-19 have been sidelined.
Kiffin didn’t travel to Atlanta with the Rebels to win a 43:24 Monday night win over Louisville after announcing his own breakthrough case on Saturday.
“I am grateful to have been vaccinated and have only mild symptoms,” said Kiffin in a statement posted on Twitter.
Calipari felt just as happy.
The trainer joked during the virtual press conference that he “crossed the line” to get vaccinated, adding that he did not reveal his positive test at the time so as not to discourage the public from getting vaccinated. He has no regrets skipping the event as it meant avoiding potential coronavirus exposure from players, staff and others.
As he now goes public with his mild symptoms, he hopes that more people will be vaccinated.
“I’m just encouraging people to think about it,” said Calipari, who isolated himself from family members. “It is children who do not return to schools vaccinated, who can bring it back to you or your family. It could happen. And if you’re vaccinated, the chances of anything serious happening are very, very, very slim.
“This is your best chance to protect yourself, maybe your family, your parents, whatever. … There have been breakthroughs, but they are not that sick. “
The positive tests for Georgia and Ole Miss come despite both programs hitting the Southeastern Conference’s 85% vaccination threshold to avoid further COVID testing and masking requirements. At Ole Miss in particular, Kiffin, his players and staff are fully vaccinated.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has a similar 85% vaccination threshold, where schools that meet it only need to test once a week, as opposed to three times for programs below that. Other schools, state, and local protocols must continue to be followed.
Spectator guidelines are less stringent this season after last fall’s logs kept attendance numbers well below capacity at many football-mad venues. No. 13 Florida rolled in front of an announced crowd of 86,840 FAU 35-14 on Saturday night, with few contestants spotted around the huge Florida Field wearing masks.
Georgia’s 10-3 win over then No. 3 Clemson came without sports medicine director Ron Courson, who tested positive with a groundbreaking case of COVID-19 and did not make the trip. Smart said Courson was fine, but noted that several staff members have been out with players as well recently.
Even with a vaccine versus last fall and other protective measures, risks and concerns remain.
“This doesn’t just affect you for the players on your team who are not vaccinated, who play and don’t play because we want everyone to be safe,” said the coach.
“But I worry about the players who are vaccinated. That we could lose her. At the moment it is as high as it has been since the autumn camp. I think there is this relief that everyone feels like everything is back to normal. Just not for us. “
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