Football this fall? U of I professor weighs in

Sports

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Dr. Sheldon Jacobson, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois, has been evaluating CDC data, and explains how COVID-19 could spread if college football season resumes this fall.

Nationwide, if 13,000 football players nation return to campus scheduled, he projects that 30 to 50 percent of players will test positive for COVID-19. He also says four to seven players could die. Jacobson says one of the biggest concerns with bringing football players back to campus is their interaction with other students. In-person learning could be one of the biggest threats for the fall.

“Once you’ve done that, the additional risk of the football players is negligible. So in other words, if they play football or not, it’s not going to make a difference,” says Jacobson.

Players with underlying health conditions are also at risk to contract the virus. Lineman are also higher risk due to their weight and size. Sheldon also expressed concerns if players were to spread the virus to older coaches and staff.

Jacobson says Illinois Football is following protocol by social distancing, and limiting contact between football players that are working out on campus. However, Illinois says they will not release any data for positive COVID-19 tests.

“Keeping these bubbles that the University of Illinois is doing is absolutely critical. Also being very transparent about the data,” says Jacobson. “So when there are cases, and you try to hide it and cover it up, it’s not going to help anybody. Everybody in the country is in this together, and we have to work together collectively, to share information, to share the data for the common good.”

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