Scott Stricklin Provides Florida Gators COVID-19 Update

Demetrius Harvey

The Florida Gators football team has remained in quarantine over the past 10 days since Oct. 13 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 within the program itself. On Friday, athletic director Scott Stricklin provided an update with further details into how the outbreak began and how the athletes will return to campus on Oct. 26, following the two-week (14 days) quarantine period.

"Following our last road trip, we have evaluated all phases of team-travel to better understand how we can enhance the safety and health protocols," Stricklin said in a video released via social media.

According to Stricklin, all players and staff that were on the trip to Texas A&M, which took place on Oct. 9-10, were instructed to quarantinue, not just those who were deemed to be positive or in close contact with those who tested positive.   

"Now, it's believed that a couple of individuals, who just a day before the trip, had tested negative for COVID through the SEC testing protocol, developed mild symptoms that they attributed to allergies or the common cold, and then boarded the team plane on that Friday. Those same individuals subsequently tested positive for COVID on Sunday that week."

In the protocols currently mandated by the SEC and the NCAA, students are responsible for reporting their symptoms. Without any concrete reports of even allergies or a headache, which Gators head coach Dan Mullen has stated at least two individuals on the football team reported after the fact that they felt those symptoms, there is no way of knowing who has what, when.

Now, at least 32 individuals on the football team, 31 reported by the University of Florida, and one more reported directly from Mullen earlier this week, have tested positive this month. Florida will work to get back to the facility on Monday following the extended break that has impacted their schedule over the past couple of weeks including the postponement of the team's game against LSU to Dec. 12, and the game against the Missouri Tigers to Oct. 31.

Upon returning to the team on Oct. 26, Florida athletes will need to undergo a re-acclimation period. According to the SEC's Task Force rules, there is a minimum of a four-day period of re-acclimation, that includes cardiac monitoring. On Day 1 of re-acclimation practice should be 25% of a normal practice or conditioning session, Day 2, 50%, Day 3, 75%, and Day 4 being full participation.

"The Gators sports health staff continues with telehealth appointments with our players and staff, and our nutrition staff has been delivering food as well to our student athletes," says Stricklin. "Likewise, our academic advising unit continues to assist our student athletes virtually. Now, before out student athletes who are infected return to activity, they will complete a cardiac evalauation that includes a troponin level test, an electrocadiagram, and an echo cardiagram."

Players will be provided with some of the best care at the UF Health facility and within the football program's medical staff itself in order to ensure that they've been placed in the safest environment as possible, says Stricklin.

"In closing, I'd like to thank each of you for your patience and continued support during this time. Stay safe, and go Gators."