WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - While COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the county, UNCW is moving forward with the men’s and women’s basketball seasons.
To keep athletes, coaches, and staff safe, the university has put into place safety measures and precautions.
Everywhere around Trask Coliseum, there are signs and hand sanitizing stations, and for an extra layer of protection, the university has put plastic shields around the team benches.
“It creates a barrier, and it keeps them in that bubble,” said UNCW Associate Athletic Director/Facilities & Event Management Mike Cherry. “We talk a lot about bubbles. Keeping everybody within their bubbles.”
In addition, the weight room has been reconfigured to allow for social distancing; there is also a limit on the number of people that can lift at a time.
“We started with ten people in the weight room at one time,” said Brad Moore, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach. “If you think of teams with 40, 50, or 60 athletes, it’s very difficult to get them in multiple times per week along with our other 17 or 18 teams.”
Keeping the numbers down allows for easier contact tracing if an athlete tests positive. When this happens, they are not able to return to play until their quarantine period is over and they have gone through a cardiac protocol.
“You’re getting an EKG and you’re getting some blood work,” said Director of Athletic Training Scott Hall. “You’re probably getting a stress test or echo to get you back where you need to go.”
The virus affects each person differently, making it important for the training staff to monitor each athlete as they try to get back to playing.
“We have had some that have done really well,” said Hall. “Then as soon as we begin to progress them, they have some side effects. So, we have to back them down. Then, we’ve had some that have flown through it without any problems.”