CHICAGO — Infectious disease experts advising the NCAA sounded a cautionary note for the conferences proceeding with fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a serious problem,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio, a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America and an associate dean at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. “I feel like the Titanic. We have hit the iceberg and we’re trying to make decisions of what time the band plays.”
The Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed fall sports this week in hopes of playing those sports in the spring, but the other three Power Five conferences — the Big 12, ACC and SEC — for now plan to proceed with their fall football schedules. That plan, experts say, should expect to bring about new transmissions among athletes and the communities where they live.
Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, noted at least 1% to 2% of NCAA athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 before most teams began full-contact practices, and “about” 12 athletes have developed myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation that emerging studies have shown could be a complication from COVID-19.