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J. Thomas McNamara

    One knows how serious COVID-19 is when the Big Ten releases a statement today (Saturday) telling all members no shoulder pads.
Here’s the statement:
    “The Big Ten Conference announced today, based on the advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, that, until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football (i.e., helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear) as we continue to transition prudently through preseason practice.
All other fall sports will continue to work locally with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity, as necessary, based on current medical protocols.

    “Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time. In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.
    “We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all. As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.”
     I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.  In the meantime be safe, wear masks to protect yourself and everyone around you.  After all, you want to enjoy college football this fall is there is any which is becoming increasingly doubtful.  I have stories in this week’s Irish Stew on the Mid-American Conference and Missouri valley Conference postponing football until the spring.
    This is serious!

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