Home Promotion Big Ten coaches teach and promote COVID vaccine with players

Big Ten coaches teach and promote COVID vaccine with players


The path to normalcy for college football this fall is the COVID-19 vaccine.

The more players are vaccinated, the less regular testing will be required; thus reducing the likelihood of a team losing players due to a positive test or contact tracing. Factor in the possibility that games missed due to COVID will be counted as forfeits, and it’s easy to see why Big Ten (and nationwide) coaches have strongly encouraged their players to get the shots.

It’s a personal choice, many coaches repeated this week at Big Ten Media Days, but it’s important to understand the consequences of not getting the shot.

“The reality for our players, which I hope they recognize, is that we are coming out of a year where we only played eight games,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who estimated that 70% of its players have been vaccinated. “Our last two games haven’t come to fruition because our opponents couldn’t reach the starting line. It’s just a reminder of how precious every opportunity to play is.”

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks to reporters during an NCAA college football press conference on the Big Ten Conference Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, on Friday July 23, 2021.

On a related note, Penn State coach James Franklin said he hammered home this year’s College World Series incident, in which North Carolina State was one national championship game away. , but was removed from the event due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Whether you agree or not, it happened,” Franklin said, adding that teams with the highest vaccination rates will have a competitive advantage. “I want to make sure that we learn from these things and that we are comfortable with the possible ramifications of the decisions we make.”

“At the end of the day, it’s a decision they have to make,” Indiana coach Tom Allen added, noting that unvaccinated players will be subject to contact tracing.

In terms of vaccination rates, Allen said 90% of his list has been vaccinated, including himself. “I felt like I couldn’t do my job without having (been vaccinated),” he said.

The discussions on immunization also included educational elements.

Purdue Boilermakers head coach Jeff Brohm addresses the media on 10 Big Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Nebraska coach Scott Frost said they have worked to educate their players about the vaccine in an attempt to “make them understand that it is safe,” while at Purdue, education sessions Similarities were completed by ensuring that the vaccine is available on campus and at their athletic facilities.

“It’s still a work in progress,” said Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm, who hopes 90% of his workforce will be vaccinated by the end of July. “You have to make sure it’s still an individual decision, but they also realize all the benefits that could come with it and some of the things that can happen if they don’t get it.”

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For their part, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and Illinois coach Brett Bielema relied on the medical staff of their teams to manage vaccination interviews with their players, which allows them to acquire knowledge. and ask questions.

The lessons did not fall on deaf ears.

Fitzgerald estimated his team’s vaccination rate to be between the low to mid-90s – unvaccinated players will need to go through various mitigation measures, including regular testing and masking – while Bielema expects that every player and coach in their building be vaccinated by August 1. .

July 22, 2021;  Indianapolis, Indiana, United States;  Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema addresses the media during the 10 Big Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t think a lot of people are in this world,” Bielema said.

No kidding.

Maryland, which requires its students to be vaccinated (unless they have a medical, religious or ethnic exemption), has a 93% vaccination rate, according to trainer Michael Locksley. This isn’t an affront to the Terrapins – crossing the 90th percentile is an achievement in itself – but anything below 100% increases the risk of setbacks.

“(This requirement) is not a benefit if your players say we don’t do it,” Locksley said. “Our medical staff will continue to be at the forefront of putting in place the best safety protocols for our players and I am 100% behind in doing the things necessary to make this happen.”

Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen.