SEC clarifies, expands health measures for student-athletes

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WJTV) – The Southeastern Conference has clarified and expanded its previously announced COVID-19 management requirements for the fall athletics season. The SEC specified the cardiac evaluation requirements in its initial report and confirmed a third weekly test prior to competition.

The SEC’s initial medical response plan for confirmed infected individuals called for a cardiac evaluation for those individuals returning to activity following isolation. The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force has now specified the cardiac evaluation would mandate a troponin level, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and a medical evaluation by a physician.

In addition, SEC members committed to enhanced testing that includes a minimum of two PCR tests per week during weeks of competition. The conference has now confirmed a third rapid diagnostic test will be performed each week close to competition for sports with a high risk of close contact.

“We remain vigilant in monitoring the trends and effects of COVID-19 as we learn more about the virus, and this cardiac evaluation enhances the effectiveness of the protocols already in place,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “We are confident in our institutions’ ability to provide a healthy environment supported by rigorous testing and surveillance. Our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete and it is our responsibility to make every effort to deliver a healthy and medically sound environment for providing that opportunity.”

Leaders said the SEC will coordinate centralized testing through a third-party provider to ensure consistency in surveillance and pre-competition testing.  

The 14 members of the SEC have committed to honoring the scholarship of any student-athlete who chooses to opt out of playing the fall 2020 season due to concerns related to COVID-19.

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