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Tulane Doc leading AAC's pandemic response says student-athletes satisfied with planning

For now, he says, the ACC and SEC still plan to play ball as well.

NEW ORLEANS — Student-athletes in the American Athletic Conference just finished a conference call late Monday afternoon. Those 12 teams talked about plans to move forward on the gridiron this fall.  The head of the medical team for the conference is a doctor at Tulane who talked to us exclusively right after that meeting.

The American Athletic Conference, that's the one Tulane is in, is moving forward with playing football in the fall.

"The student-athletes truly have an interest in their health and safety, but I think for the most part they are all interested and want to compete. And I think we're seeing that across the country now," said Tulane Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Greg Stewart. 

He is Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee for the American Athletic Conference of the NCAA and Chairman of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. He is part of the team advising college teams in that conference nationally and high school players in Louisiana. 

Dr. Stewart says the student-athletes asked questions of conference leaders and medical advisors for an hour about safety, testing, quarantining, and contact tracing.

"I think that they're more than satisfied with the protocols that we've put in place. What we're doing either meets or exceeds the NCAA guidelines, the CDC guidelines and even the guidelines of the autonomy 5 conferences," he said.

As the head of the medical advisory committee to this conference, Tulane's Dr. Stewart says student-athletes are safer playing ball because of the constant monitoring they are getting.

"But if fall sports get canceled, then I don't know where he's going to be on Friday and Saturday night. Student-athletes who are catching the virus and getting sick, are not catching it on the field of play, the strength and conditioning weight room. Where they're catching it is after hours at the beach, at the party, at the bars."

And Dr. Stewart's take on why some of the other conferences are talking about canceling is this.

"Some of the conferences and some of the schools that you see that are backing out, may not have the capcity to do the testing and live up to the high demands of participating and competing safely," he said.

And for now he says the ACC and SEC still plan to play ball as well.

And Dr. Stewart says some of the parents' associations, like the one at Ohio State, are even saying they want football to be played this fall.

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