Louisville decided to learn and live through COVID-19

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With guidelines and protocols in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, Louisville athletics has tried to give student athletes the opportunity to prepare for competition despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletic Director Vince Tyra says Louisville is keeping its student athletes safe.

“We have chosen to learn and live with the virus,” Tyra said.

Approximately 700 tests for COVID-19 have been administered to student athletes and athletic staff members since the reopening of the University’s campus. Tyra said 13 student athletes and staff members tested positive during the two months of the phased return.

The men’s basketball team paused voluntary athletic activities for two weeks after two players tested positive in early July. The men’s and women’s swimming teams temporarily suspended voluntary activities July 18 for two weeks after three members tested positive for COVID-19.

“Because we are in the offseason, we have had the luxury to take an abundance of caution,” Tyra said. “We will continue to do so with those protocols.”

Tyra said Louisville continues to adapt its guidelines as more knowledge about the virus become available.

“We will react to things that we see on campus, certainly what we see in collegiate and professional athletics and the CDC (Center for Disease Control),” Tyra said. “There has been a tremendous amount of work put in by the medical advisory group in the ACC to establish those guidelines.”

The lines of communication between UofL, healthcare professionals and other universities have remained opened as fall sports have continued to be a possibility.

Dr. Kevin Gardner, UofL’s vice president for research & innovation, has led on campus research. Tyra said Dr. Cameron R. Wolfe, an infectious diseases specialist from Duke University, has communicated with athletic directors as more information is discovered about COVID-19.

Wolfe chairs the ACC's Medical Advisory Group, which announced plans July 29 for football and Olympic fall sports.

“With the establishment of the medical advisory guidelines working in conjunction with the other A-5 and the NCAA, certainly that helps us reduce the risk of infections during competition as much as leading up to it in practice,” Tyra said.

Student athletes at Louisville have the benefit of UofL Health, which can provide test results within four to six hours.

“I know we are unique to the conference,” Tyra said. “We are getting them turned around pretty quickly.”

The ACC Medical Advisory Group recommends weekly testing for student athletes participating in close contact sports. Louisville won’t test its student athletes more than a once a week, unless individuals begin showing symptoms of COVID-19.

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