How do we understand the various football conferences "Postponing" their competition to spring? As a Buckeye fan, I felt a vacuum suck out my gut when I heard the news. As a Family Physician, graduate of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, former faculty in the Department of Family Medicine 1990-94 (when we, humbly, were honored as one of the top five primary care medical schools in America by US News and World Report twice), and a patient who had a 5.2 CM kidney stone removed at OSU Medical Center, I'm disappointed.
I love Ohio State.
OK, some people worship the Buckeyes, a concept I recognized by recognizing it with a song I wrote called:
"Jesus or the Buckeyes"
Jesus or the Buckeyes, Which one is your Lord?
Which one gives you hope Through the shouting of their word?
Do you need a touchdown To know that you’re alive,
Or prayer and praise and worship To learn how you should strive?
Jesus or the Buckeyes What can ease your stress?
Will script Ohio save your life And let you find your rest?
Will Urban Meyer call a play To save you from your boss?
Will Jesus come and “dot your I” Just when all seems lost?
Jesus or the Buckeyes Which one makes you whole?
Which one gives you hope For the healing of your soul?
Will cheers and banners fill your heart With hope for victory?
Or heartfelt prayer and Jesus love At home upon your knees.
Jesus or the Buckeyes? Which one “dots your I?”
Which one gives you comfort When you’re about to die?
O-H, I -O may not set you free
The I that you need dotted Is in B-I-B-L-E.
OK, I'm reminded that some priorities are above Buckeye football. BUT... the decision to not play this fall seemed to be heavily weighted with a consideration/intense fear about athletes getting COVID-19 induced myocarditis and then, sudden death. There are TWO examples of athletes having that problem, without the sudden death, in the news articles about the decision. In hospitalized patients with COVID-19, many have a transient myocarditis. BUT, the athletic and university leaders expect to have competition in the spring, when the corona virus will still be around and some may get the myocarditis, and it will get diagnosed and treated since they are in a good medical system with good team physicians.
In the meantime, thousands of college athletes won't be playing sports, but they will be catching the virus. They may not do as well fighting the virus, since well conditioned people fight viruses better than deconditioned people. Some will get the myocarditis. Will they be feeling good enough to play? Will it be diagnosed and treated as well as it would be in the OSU healthcare system (for example, considering our athletes)? Will some of our student-athletes get more exposure to the virus in the less controlled setting of the campus or their hometown?
The athletes in the SEC and ACC and my alma mater team, The Army Black Knights of West Point are going to play. Navy and Air Force are also intending to play. Air Force conference has cancelled fall sports, but agrees to let them play, at least the other service academies. Are their health risks any different than the Buckeyes? Is their healthcare from sports physicians and their campus healthcare systems better than the Buckeyes?
AND, in the rest of America, those with COVID-19 in the under 50 age groups usuallydon't even get examined by physicians if they get COVID-19. They might call their doctor with symptoms and get sent to the drive through testing site. In 2-7 days of self quarantine, they may call their doctor again to clarify how they're doing. At the appropriate time after fever and some other symptoms have resolved, they go back to work, following CDC website guidelines. Do they have to get an EKG, Echocardiogram, Troponin blood test and see a cardiologist? NO. The NBA does since they are perceived to have extra risks of myocarditis and, therefore, increased risk of sudden death. Fed EX workers don't have to get cleared by a cardiologist, even though they may be lifting a lot and chased by dogs sometimes, even after having COVID-19.
I was Head Team Physician for Denison University (Woody Hayes alma mater, by the way) for over a decade and remember the intensity and commitment of the athletes. They love the competition. They generally know and follow the in season training rules. They all signed the consent forms acknowledging the dangers of their respective sports ("even death", was on the forms they signed). Their conference, The NCAC won't have fall sports due to issues related to COVID-19.
The athletic systems haven't supported their arguments by producing the estimated numbers of actual at risk players who might die because they played after COVID-19. They could have said instead that they are so afraid of COVID in athletes that any athlete who caught it would be banned from playing. That would eliminate the risk of sudden death at practice or in a game, if that's their ultimate concern. They didn't even have to do that. Each athlete and/ or their parents signs a document acknowledging that they could be seriously injured or even killed playing their sport. Parents even have to sign a similar form for little league players. The authorities have only to add a clause about possible exposure to infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and, not surprisingly, almost every athlete and/or their parents would sign it. They want to play. I believe they should have the right to make that decision, since they are the reason given by the Big 10 Conference and others for the decision to cancel the seasons.
"I would say we have seen enough to develop a safe plan. They have not," Dr. Catherine O'Neal said as an infectious disease specialist at LSU in the SEC, referring to the Big 10 and Pac 12 decisions not to play. The (so-called) "Medical Facts" are the same for all the physicians, they just interpret them differently.
That's my opinion..What's yours?