Fighting Irish Returning to Practice
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team will be back on the practice field on Wednesday despite still dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.
On Monday, the school reported 18 positive cases of the coronavirus, but the school is convinced that it has been able to trace the start of the outbreak.
This outbreak has already placed 25 players in isolation and another 14 in quarantine, but the school believes that it has figured out the reason for the spread. Team doctors have pointed to two instances surrounding the Sept. 19 game against South Florida.
One of the causes of the outbreak was a traditional pregame meal that is hosted by the school, and the other was a player vomiting on the sidelines. That player was treated for dehydration at the time, but doctors now believe that he was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Head coach Brian Kelly told ESPN on Tuesday that pregame meals will still take place throughout the remainder of the season, but these meals will take place in much larger venues. This will allow players to be spaced out more than six feet apart, and it will force the football coach to use a microphone to address his players.
The team will also have rapid-testing kits available on the sideline so that team doctors can test anyone that shows symptoms during a game. The player that was throwing up on the sidelines was one of the first to test positive, and contact tracing led the doctors back to him as the source.
Kelly expects that close to 90 percent of his team will be able to return to practice by the end of the week in preparation for the Oct. 10 meeting with Florida State. The team has still been hosting meetings through Zoom, and conditioning has been done in small group settings.
Notre Dame Off to Great Start
The Fighting Irish are off to a 2-0 start in 2020, their first season in the ACC. The ACC allowed Notre Dame to join the league this season to give the Fighting Irish a chance to fill out their schedule.
Notre Dame started the season with a win over Duke, then followed that up with a blowout win over South Florida. The Fighting Irish were slated to play their first game at Wake Forest on Sept. 26, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced that game to be postponed.
The game against Wake Forest will now be played on Dec. 12, which was an open date scheduled by the ACC. The conference is expected to play the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 19, which is one day before the College Football Playoff selection show.
Notre Dame is ranked No. 5 in the latest AP Polls, and they have a strong chance to make it to the ACC title game. Clemson remains a heavy favorite to win the league, and the Fighting Irish will take on the Tigers on Nov. 7.
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