NKU physicians, OrthoCincy outline protocols for return to play

Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 8:18 AM EDT
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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (FOX19) - The college basketball season begins next month and at Northern Kentucky University the Norse are working with OrthoCincy to ensure a safe return to the court.

Dr. Matthew DesJardins, a sports medicine specialist from OrthoCincy and head team physician at NKU, chairs the University Committee on return to athletics that has been meeting since late April.

“The Horizon League, as well as all the big NCAA Athletic Conferences, have screening protocols in place. So, if we have an athlete that develops COVID, they like anyone else, would have to do their isolation time, or their close contacts would have to do their quarantine time,” Dr. DesJardins said.

According to the NCAA, that is a 14-day quarantine.

“Once they recover, they get checked out by the team physician, they go through a heart and lung screening exam," Dr. DesJardins notes. "Sometimes that’ll involve some extra testing like an EKG or an Echo, sometimes some advanced testing like a cardiac MRI to determine if they have any effects of COVID on the heart.”

Once the season officially starts, players, coaches, staff, and officials will be tested for COVID-19 three times per week.

Practice started Oct. 14 and part of CDC guidance allows for players to be within six feet of each other for only 15 minutes.

“That’s very challenging when you are trying to get ready for the season," Dr. DesJardins said. "That’s probably the biggest thing, that idea of close contact. There’s a couple of really hard spots for coaches. They’re trying to balance this idea of distancing and spacing and meaningful practice. Basketball is obviously a really close sport, face to face, body to body, and so once you get into where you are practicing at that level, you’re not distancing.”

NKU Men’s and Women’s Basketball has yet to release a schedule.

Division I teams need to play at least 13 games against other D1 teams in order to be considered for NCAA Championship selection.

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