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Mike Gundy Says 'A Lot of' His Players Can Fight Off Coronavirus, Hoping for May Return

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he is looking to return to the program's football facilities next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday, Gundy said he thinks it will be safe for his players to return.

"In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them. They're all in good shape. They're all 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22-year-olds. They're healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies and the build that they have," he said, per KFOR's Dylan Buckingham

"There's some people that are asymptomatic. If that's true, then we sequester them. And people say that's crazy. No, it's not crazy because we need to continue and budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma."

Health experts do not suggest young people should be exempt from social distancing practices during the pandemic. The virus can affect people of all ages, and younger people can even pose a threat to older people or those with underlying health conditions.

Gundy said the program will treat the coronavirus like the flu and anyone who contracts COVID-19 would be quarantined. 

"We get people that get the flu during the season," Gundy said, per ESPN. "We quarantine them. We treat them. We make sure they're healthy. We bring ‘em back. It would be the same thing here, but at some point, we’ve got to go back to work. ...From what I read, the healthy people can fight this, the antibodies make it better. They're doing some blood transplants now with the people that have already gotten the disease, that have gotten over it that have the antibodies that can fight it. There's a lot of people who can figure this out. May 1's our goal. Don't know if it will happen. Players will come in after that."

Oklahoma State issued a statement Tuesday night regarding Gundy's comments. 

"Everyone wants to return to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible," the school said. "As for Oklahoma State University, we will adhere to the advice of public health experts who are making informed decisions in the best interest of the citizens of our nation based on scientific data.

"We will not compromise the health and wellbeing of our campus community. This virus is deadly and we will do our part at Oklahoma State to help blunt the spread."

Professional and college sports are shut down right now amid the pandemic, and no date has been set for when college football practice can begin. Big 12 schools will not be allowed to hold in-person workouts and meetings with student-athletes until May 31. Last month, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the conference would monitor the pandemic to decide if the upcoming football season should be delayed

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation, health experts have not set a timeline for when people can resume going to work or gathering in large crowds. 

Gundy told reporters that he realizes the seriousness of the pandemic, but he also thinks it's important for people to get back to their normal routines soon.

"I'm not taking away from the danger of people getting sick. You have the virus, stay healthy, try to do what we can to help people that are sick. And we're losing lives, which is just terrible. The second part of it is that we still have to schedule and continue to move forward as life goes on and help those people."