December 1, 2020

Capital athletics claim to recover from a COVID scare

On Oct. 17, it was announced that some student-athletes reported symptoms similar to COVID-19, and less than two weeks later, the athletic department has shared that the situation is no longer an issue.

The initial news of a potential outbreak came from an email released by Denise Russell, director of communications for Capital, which stated that, “Based on some student-athletes reporting symptoms consistent with COVID-19, team physician Dr. Michael A. Jonesco has made the decision to place all in-person athletic activity on hold until further notice as a precautionary measure.”

To figure out which teams had reported the symptoms, the Chimes reached out to Ryan Gasser, assistant director of athletics, who declined to share the specific teams due to privacy concerns.

Almost a week later on Thursday, Oct. 22,  Ryan Madison, a second-year special education major and football player, shared info that suggested that the players who reported symptoms actually belonged to the football team.

“I know a few of our football players have been in quarantine, and one positive case that I know about,” Madison said.

He went on to clarify that four athletes reported symptoms.

On that same Thursday, Gasser shared with the Chimes that the situation had been brought under control, and all the athletes that were quarantined were now free to resume their regular status. 

Gasser’s email stated, “Earlier this afternoon (about 3 p.m.) we were officially cleared to resume in-person athletic activity, immediately. All four student-athletes tested negative for COVID-19, which is a huge relief.”

The coaches were not required to test because Gasser claimed that the contact tracing conducted by the athletics staff showed that there was “no connection” between coaches and their players.

Though the situation is now under control, how long was the athletics department response time after the first reporting? 

According to Gasser, the first athlete to report COVID-like symptoms to their coach was early on the morning of Oct. 17 by phone call.  During those early morning hours, three other athletes reported symptoms. 

Which means this had the potential to turn into a super-spreader event if the athletes truly did have COVID and were left unchecked.

“I received a call just short of 1 p.m. on Saturday, an hour before we were supposed to begin Photo Day for some of our teams,” Gasser said. “I immediately reached out to the coaches of those teams to report that we were postponing.”

At the time of this writing, no further news has been released on Capital athletics, but the Chimes  will continue to track this subject.

  • Robert Cumberlander is the Editor-in-Chief of The Chimes and a junior at Capital University, majoring in Film and Media Production with a minor in Entrepreneurship.

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