Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Yurachek: Razorback athlete tests positive for covid-19
Hunter Yurachek, director of athletics at the University of Arkansas, speaks Friday, March 13, 2020, in the Touchdown Club at Razorback Stadium to address questions regarding the Southeastern Conference and the university's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
FAYETTEVILLE An athlete at the University of Arkansas has tested positive for covid-19, according to a statement from UA athletics director Hunter Yurachek.
The athlete's name and the sport they play was not provided, but Yurachek said the athlete is doing well while recovering in isolation at an off-campus property. The athlete tested positive for the virus last week.
Athletes in the sports of football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, soccer and men's and women's track and field will be allowed to begin working out voluntarily on campus next Monday, but some from coronavirus hot spots came back in recent days for a mandated 14-day quarantine. Hot spots identified by the UA included the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the city of New Orleans and any international country.
During a teleconference last week, Yurachek said that athletes from those hot spots would be tested, as well as any athlete with coronavirus-like symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
“Our protocol has been enacted with a continued focus on providing the student-athlete with needed medical care and support while mitigating risk to others," Yurachek said in a statement Thursday. "As I shared previously, we knew it was not a matter of if, but rather when a Razorback student-athlete would be confirmed positive.
"With respect for privacy, we do not plan on announcing or detailing each case as it may arise. However, it is important to use this opportunity to acknowledge the reality of the challenges ahead for all of us and affirm our continued commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”
Coronavirus numbers in Northwest Arkansas have increased sharply in recent days. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced 111 new cases in Washington County where the university is located, and 92 new cases in neighboring Benton County on Thursday.
The Razorbacks announced a positive test on the same day Arkansas State announced seven positive tests among its athletes in Jonesboro. Cases have also been announced or reported among athletes at Alabama, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Nebraska and Marshall.
“You have athletes, and of course you got to recognize this is a fairly large number of athletes, who’ll be coming back for training, and they’re coming from different cities across the country,” Hutchinson said Thursday when asked about the new cases at ASU. “And they come in and we have seven positives. That, I think, is going to be expected in multiple campuses across the state, and the universities are prepared to address that and deal with that. And so that’s what we’ve got to do.”
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