Three UTSA football players test positive for COVID-19

Three UTSA football players test positive for COVID-19

Three UTSA football players have tested positive for COVID-19 since student-athletes began returning to campus June 4 for voluntary workouts, athletic director Lisa Campos said Friday.

The three players are asymptomatic. Prior to the positive test results, those student-athletes visited campus only briefly, picking up bags of personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer the program distributed to all returning players.

“Immediately, they were put into self-isolation,” Campos said. “The doctors will evaluate that and they will decide when is the best time to retest those student-athletes. They must be asymptomatic, and plus a negative test, and then they will be able to return to practice or activities.”

Student-athletes who were in contact with those who tested positive have been placed in self-isolation, Campos said, and must produce a negative test result before returning to workouts.

UTSA's Athletics Director Lisa Campos

UTSA’s Athletics Director Lisa Campos

Kin Man Hui /Staff file photo

Fifty-eight UTSA football student-athletes returned to campus during the first phase of the department’s plan, Campos said, and each player underwent COVID-19 testing before being cleared for voluntary workouts.

Campos said UTSA would not be publicly announcing the number of student-athletes testing positive for coronavirus, noting the program does not typically divulge players' illnesses or injuries. She disclosed UTSA’s three positive test results in an interview with the Express-News on Friday.

“The question is are we going to put press releases out every time we have a positive test, and that’s not our intent. If asked, we’re not trying to hide the numbers,” Campos said. “We communicate any of our positive tests and our protocol to the proper ities, to Metro Health and our campus, and so from a health perspective, we’ll share all of that information with those that have that need to know, for sure.”

Campos said players’ parents will also be informed of any positive tests within the team. Since the NCAA began allowing football student-athletes to begin returning to campus for voluntary workouts June 1, positive tests have emerged across the country.

The University of Texas announced 13 football players have tested positive as of Thursday afternoon, and Texas State on Wednesday announced five student-athletes had tested positive.

On June 12, the University of Houston became the first school in the nation to suspend athletic activities after six student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

In addition to testing, UTSA’s initial return process included a seven-day self-isolation period and a “thorough medical examination,” per a release. Once cleared, student-athletes underwent a daily symptom and temperature check, with additional COVID-19 testing conducted as needed.

All players in the initial group of returners were living in off-campus housing, with 40 additional student-athletes in on-campus housing beginning to arrive Thursday as part of a second phase, Campos said.

The voluntary workouts are focused on strength and conditioning, with a maximum of 10 student-athletes in a group through June, Campos said. Face coverings are mandatory, and the players are required to remain at least 6 feet apart.

UTSA’s plan included three phases of voluntary workouts, with each phase lasting 14 days. By NCAA rules, coaches cannot attend, direct or receive reports about voluntary workouts, instead holding virtual meetings with players. Football activity is not permitted.

greg.luca@express-news.net