Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageNCAA's top doctor: COVID-19 testing needs to improve to play

By Karen Graham     Aug 16, 2020 in Sports
The NCAA's chief medical officer painted a bleak picture on the outlook of playing college football during the coronavirus pandemic. Without more rigorous testing, he believes, college sports are likely to be canceled altogether.
That is not the news many colleges and student athletes want to hear. Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, appeared on CNN to talk about fall sports just after midnight on Sunday morning, and while there may not have been a big audience watching at that time, it didn't keep Dr, Hainline from being brutally honest in what he had to say.
In his appearance on CNN, Dr. Hainline said that without an improvement in nationwide testing, "there's no way we can go forward with sports," adding that "everything would have to line up perfectly" for fall sports, including football to be played, reports Yahoo Sports.
As we all know, not everyone wants to accept the doctor's gloomy outlook. On Sunday morning, Big Ten players continued their push to get the conference to overturn its decision on the cancellation of the fall season. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth and other players posted an online petition on Twitter requesting that the Big Ten reinstate the schedule, according to CTV News Canada.
Players parents groups from Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska have all sent letters to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, asking that the decision to cancel football be reversed.
And while some colleges have had their student athletes on campus for a month or more, they are doing coronavirus testing. The SEC, for example, will test players at least twice a week while exploring the option of a third test. But the testing will need to be improved once the football season begins. That is fairly obvious.
The problem right now is that testing just isn't up to snuff in the U.S. “Right now, if testing in the US stays the way it is, there’s no way we can go forward with sports,” Hainline said.
Not only is the U.S. hampered by the availability of tests, but by the length of time it takes to get results. It can take several days to a couple of weeks, in some cases just to get the results back, and tests and test results would be needed very close to the actual game day.
There may be some good news on the horizon. On Saturday, the FDA approved a coronavirus testing system known as SalivaDirect, which was developed by Yale University in conjunction with the NBA and the NBA Players Association.
SalivaDirect is considered a “game changer” in testing because it is cheaper (as low as $4 a test), faster, and easier than other tests. “If you test frequently enough you are going to pick up on the positives early on before there is a spread,” Robby Sikka, a doctor and the vice president of basketball, performance and technology for the Minnesota Timberwolves told Yahoo Sports on Saturday. Sikka played a key role in the study of the testing procedure.
"With the FDA’s emergency use authorization, the testing method is immediately available to other diagnostic laboratories that want to start using the new test, which can be scaled up quickly for use across the nation — and, perhaps, beyond — in the coming weeks," the researchers said.
More about covid19 testing, College sports, NCAA top doctor, turn around time, saliva testing
Sports Video
Latest News
Top News