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Protocols will be relaxed for vaccinated athletes | Local sports

By on August 22, 2021 0

Minnesota state men’s basketball player Quincy Anderson remembers experiencing wrestling last season.

Fewer games, essentially creating its own bubble, and constant COVID-19 testing was just the cost of playing sports in a pandemic.

“It was really stressful and it took a toll on our mental health in particular,” Anderson said. “We’ve had a lot of guys, me included, who have struggled … the whole season has been very stressful.”

The pandemic is still very active, but if athletes are vaccinated, some of the protocols that made last season so exhausting will be relaxed.

According to MSU athletic director Kevin Buisman, current NCAA guidelines state that fully vaccinated athletes will not be required to undergo testing or be absent if they are considered close contact of a person being tested. positive.

That could change depending on how the pandemic progresses, but for now that’s where it is.

As the students returned to campus, vaccination numbers for some of the sports teams were released, with five programs – men’s basketball, softball, volleyball, football, and men’s hockey – already having immunization rates of 90% or more.

However, the men’s basketball team is the only team to reach the 100% threshold at this point.

Buisman said there are 565 student-athletes at MSU and about 75% of them have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

He also noted that many athletes are currently being vaccinated, as the rate has been steadily increasing in recent weeks.

Buisman made it clear that MSU has positioned the vaccine as a personal choice and said the school has also made medical professionals available to students who may have questions.

“(We’re trying) just to present it as factually as possible and as straightforward as possible – letting them make a decision,” Buisman said.

Anderson made sure to research and speak to a healthcare professional about the vaccine on his first outing, but after that he became convinced that vaccination was the best way to protect those around him, as well as ensure complete and meaningful treatment. basketball season.

Anderson also said there was no pressure to get the shot from coaching staff, administration or team members.

“To us, it seemed like a consensus among all of us where we all felt safer if we got it,” Anderson said.

It’s a similar situation for the MSU softball team, which currently has a player vaccination rate of 95%.

Many players in the softball program were vaccinated when it was first widely available during their spring season, as the team competed in the NCAA regional competition.

Coach Lori Meyer believes many of his players chose to be vaccinated simply for health reasons, but said disappointment at losing a season in 2020 and the difficult circumstances of 2021 also played a role.

“Being in the playoffs, testing every other day… I know everyone was holding their breath until the last person came out and said, ‘I’m fine,’ Meyer said. home for the summer, I think the rest of the majority of the young girls said “boom, I’m going to get the shot”.

Follow Kevin Dudley on Twitter @ Dudley7Kevin.

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