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NCAA doctor uses Titanic analogy for fall football

How safe is fall football in the eyes of medical experts? One infectious disease doctor compared those holding out hope to passengers on the Titanic waiting for the band to start playing as the ship sank.

This morning, NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline and other doctors held a conference call with reporters about COVID-19, during which Carlos del Rio, a Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, said the country needs to be focused on controlling the pandemic, not sports.

Oof. Dr. Colleen Craft, the associate chief medical officer at Emory Hospital, said schools are “playing with fire” by trying to have fall sports, focusing specifically on myocarditis, a heart condition that can develop in those who have had the virus. The Big Ten cited myocarditis as a primary reason they are pushing football to the spring after at least 15 players in the conference were found to have it.

So, can anything be done to make college sports safe? Hainline floated the idea of sending students home in November and creating bubbles for athletes on campus. Of course, a vaccine would help too. Until then, all of the doctors advised people to wear masks.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

42 Comments for NCAA doctor uses Titanic analogy for fall football

  1. 44stewart
    10:43 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Here comes the its only 1% crowd. They don’t care if a couple of players have effects that will end the career and maybe their life. As long as they can see football

  2. hunter1249
    11:06 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    The follow up question these is….”Then What?” Seriously when cases come down we can do a lot more things. Well when we do alot more things cases will go up. This is a Merry Go Round that we all no what to do to reduce cases, but in order to keep cases reduced, you have to keep doing those said things, includeing closing bars and not playing fall sports. No professional has an answer for this fact.

    • 44stewart
      11:21 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

      I think sports is not a necessary thing. I think in school classes are not necessarily. Bars and restaurants in a controlled environment with reduced capacity is the only way they should stay open. Just to help the business owners survive. Sports can start up as a vaccine is developed. We all love sports and miss it. But the reward is not worth the risk.

  3. Eddiemcwildcat
    11:19 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    The same analogy will apply if you vote Democrat

  4. Blue Mass
    11:24 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Is it just me or does it clearly appear that the writers on this blog and frankly all sports media would like to see no sports.
    I hate to break the news to everyone who thinks crashing the economy will only get Trump out of office: the sports and media entertainment industry is an $800,000,000,000 dollar industry. We are on the verge of a financial calamity not seen since the 1930’s and the snowflakes of this country cannot seem to see that by supporting shutdowns everywhere they are essentially an end to their financial futures. This is bigger than sports and bigger than politics. Just another case of “watch the birdie”. If we do not get back to some sibilance of normalcy soon we are all in for a long depressing ride. I do not care which side of the political fence one sits on.

    • Mrs. Tyler Thompson
      11:27 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Sure, we’re rooting for the demise of livelihoods. You nailed it.

    • satcheluk
      1:46 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Your name should be Blue Myopic and maybe a hyphenated moron too.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:07 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Tyler, I have no comment on KSR writers in this regard. I believe you all do want sports (although I’m sure you don’t all agree to what has to be in place for that to happen). I do believe though that there are national writers who would love to show us how smart they are and who are hoping for no fall collegiate sports.

  5. Blue Mass
    11:25 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    *essentially supporting

    • 44stewart
      11:31 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

      This has absolutely nothing to do with trump. I lobe not being able to do the things I love just to get Trump out of office. Man you are a mind reader.

  6. Blue Mass
    11:38 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    To Mrs. Tyler it sure looks that way from where I am watching. Help me understand how we went through H1N1 and significantly more death yet we did not shut down the worlds economy. To not see where this is headed and actually continue to perpetuate the thought is irresponsible. If you want sports and normalcy for your paycheck it is your responsibility, nay, every American’s responsibility to stand up and say enough is enough. But oddly I have a suspicion that no one will be doing anything of that sort until long about November 4 or 5. Do not pretend this is not political. While your at it do not pretend that this once awesome site has not merely become a political grandstanding site.

    • 44stewart
      12:11 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Maybe you should believe her at her word instead of just going by what you believe.

    • PensacolaCat
      3:23 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Hard not to agree with Blue Mass. Nailed it.

    • Jambluehue99
      3:45 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Pure politics, plain and simple. There are way too many people willing to give up their freedom for what they perceive as safety. Once you have given up freedom, for whatever reason, it isn’t not returned. So while all the do-gooder liberals play the game, the country suffers. This is all about using an opportunity to gain power. Remember the liberals never let a crisis go to waste. It’s time people wake up and quit behaving like sheep. The USA has not always existed, and it doesn’t have to exist forever. If we continue to allow politicians to control every aspect of our lives, allow ANTIFA and BLM free reign to destroy lives and property, we will soon all be thankful for the country that once was, but that we failed to protect. All you do-gooder liberals will be suffering just the same as everyone else. The only difference is you will have whistled your way to destruction, willfully ignorant of your treacherous behavior.

  7. UKinIN
    11:45 am August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Isn’t Emory the place that put UK on probation? Why would we believe those bastards?

    • dgtuk
      12:01 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Pretty sure emory freight..long since out of business has nothing to do with emory university!!! ?

    • satcheluk
      1:47 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Hopefully he is joking. Please use an emoji to convey that, otherwise we just have to assume you’re ignorant.

  8. Lip Man 1
    12:36 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    The doctor is a very wise man.

  9. Keets
    12:51 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Definitely political aspects to covid, data, reporting, assumptions, blanket mandates, etc., with most media, libs and never-Trumpers very quick and very willing to use it to get Trump out however they can (most unwilling to truly consider whether we are trading lives to some extent after blanket wide shut downs to education and the economy).

    BUT (while I don’t trust the complete accuracy of death totals coming from the most liberal metros), covid numbers have surpassed H1N1, no? Even if we think the current 160K US covid death total was overstated by 100K (which would be unbelievably egregious), H1N1 killed 18K on the high estimates after a full year (add more if you’re skeptical and think libs used a different counting protocol during Obama).

    • Keets
      12:53 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      comment meant as reply for Blue Mass

    • ziplock
      5:09 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      The H3N2 or Hong Kong flu of 1969-1969 killed a estimated 100,000 in the USA and 1 million worldwide and we didn’t shut down anything.

  10. joesh56
    12:58 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Sorry, but I have some major problems with these statements. First off, the Big Ten isn’t cancelling in-person classes, so they don’t get to claim the moral high ground by cancelling football. I’d argue the student-athletes will be safer in their own bubble being monitored by coaches/staff and being tested 2 or 3 times a week. Second, how do we know these doctors don’t have a vendetta against college football? Football itself is a damaging sport, so I’d assume they wouldn’t approve of the sport anyways. Lastly, they act like they won’t get the virus if they don’t play football. That’s just extremely false. They probably are safer with their coaches in their own bubble than they would be in the general pubic. Listen to what the LSU medical advisory board said the other day, they said that they’d probably have a higher chance catching it in the general public than with their team, and their teammates are going to be tested 2-3 times a week, so it’s arguably safer.

    • satcheluk
      1:52 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      It’s hysterical to read someone’s comments on a sports blog, who has no background in risk management, epidemiology, no access to the meetings with various experts and stakeholders think they have a better understanding of the risks than the stakeholders who are making the decisions. As a risk management professional myself, I can tell you that you have no effing idea all the data and variables they are analyzing in order to make these decisions. You can disagree all you want, but you have no legitimate basis to refute the decision because you are ignorant of the data.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:04 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      They’re letting a computer guy with no background in medicine or anything of the sort lead the charge for a vaccine and tell us we should all accept the vaccine, while censoring actual doctors who have prescribed hydroxychloroquine. You make a strong point about risk management, but stop it with the “You’re not a ______ ” medical stuff.

    • joesh56
      6:55 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      @Satchel I’m repeating exactly what the SEC medical advisory board said and what people said the Big Ten was being hypocritical about, cancelling football but holding in person classes. You can insult me as a person all you want because you don’t like what I have to say, but I’m going off of what the SEC’s medical board has said. Instead of having an actual discussion, by looking at this thread all you’ve done is insult people and call them dimwits or ignorant. Sure, I don’t have all the information, but what I said was exactly what the SEC’s medical board has said and why they said football should go forward as of now as long as they test 2x-3x per week. You obviously forget, the MLB, NHL, MLS, & MLB have all played sports this summer with testing and bubbles and it’s mostly worked out, aside from the St. Louis Cardinals and Marlins, who were obviously breaking protocol. The conferences have already said the players don’t have to play if they don’t want to and they get to keep their scholarship and extra year of eligibility if they opt out.

    • satcheluk
      9:29 am August 14, 2020 Permalink

      “I have some major problems with these statements”, “I’d argue”, “How do we know these doctors don’t have a vendetta?”, “I’d assume”, these are phrases used to convey opinions, not facts and we won’t even address the ridiculous insinuation that doctors might have a vendetta. How dare you say something like that without an ounce of proof. That is the epitome of fake news! Also, I could find nothing about what the LSU medical board supposedly said. Feel free to post a link to bolster your opinion.

      Now to the professional leagues. They collectively bargain, so the owners Risk is limited by their agreements. Pomegranates to apples, so it is thrown out.

      I did NOT insult you as a person. I said you are ignorant of the things you are commenting about and I stand by that opinion. The leagues decisions to play or not are based partially on player/staff safety, but the major issue is financial and brand risk. People who understand risk management know you must be able to clearly and accurately define a risk before you can choose to transfer it to someone else(liability insurance) or absorb the risk yourself. In all likelihood they have met with Lloyd’s of London and some other insurance companies and liability insurance for this is probably close to the revenue they would generate for the entire season, so these conferences, if they choose to move forward and I hope they do, are simply rolling the dice and praying no one dies or gets ill enough to sue. Small chance and astronomical financial risk.

      You can keep jousting windmills if you choose, but you and so many others are arguing making arguments that make it clear you have no idea what the stakeholders are discussing. Medical is only one piece, but financial is the biggest pet of this decision they know if one player or staff gets very ill or dies, then the school will be bankrupted by the lawsuit.

    • joesh56
      2:14 pm August 14, 2020 Permalink

      @satchel you called me ignorant and you called others dimwits, so yes you did insult me and others, hence why I was not the only one responding to you in the comments. is just one of the links where Greg Sankey has repeated what his Medical Advisory board has said. On August 11th, they had LSU’s medical advisor on NBC news for an interview where she(it was a woman) said the exact same things regarding player safety. I had a problem with the Emory doctors considering they are contradicting the LSU doctors and the other SEC medical advisors. It’s not uncommon for doctors to dislike football considering how it’s almost certain to cause CTE. You pretty obviously did not google the protocols they have in place, because there are a multitude of articles covering what the SEC and other conferences have planned. I agree that college football could still get cancelled if there’s a large outbreak on campuses when students return, but I’m happy they’re continuing it as of right now because if the players want to play, they should be able to and it’s safe with the protocols in place. You also forget the players said they are willing to sign waivers. Regardless of your opinion, the SEC is going to try to play football this fall and the Big 10 cancelled too early. Whether you watch it or not is up to you. What you say does make sense in terms of liability, but that’s why the league is making them sign waivers and they have so many protocols in place. Feel free to fact check that, but it’s true.

  11. ScoggDog
    1:06 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    If you want an environment where there is zero risk in college football – shut the sport down now.

    I’m not kidding. There is a real, measurable risk of permanent brain injury, muscle and joint damage, and spinal injury as a result of participation in full contact football. We get at least one death a year in the high school ranks as a result of summer conditioning.

    It is not a safe sport now. So ask yourself – how much less safe is the endeavor as a result of Covid 19 ? And is the risk acceptable ? Because if the answer is ” If it only saves one life ” – the entire enterprise is too risky now.

    Then ask yourself this – who gets to choose ? The participants – or everyone else ?

    • satcheluk
      2:00 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      They are not looking for zero risk. They are looking for clearly definable risk, so they can relatively accurately produce a risk/reward scenario. There are too many unknown variables which are causing their risk formulas to collapse. They have a fiduciary responsibility to err on the side of caution. If they decide to proceed with so many unknowns, they will be conducting an experiment and that has ethical ramifications, not to mention possible legal and monetary losses from lawsuits. And if the plaintiffs attorneys can show they proceeded despite all the data showing heightened risk, then they can prove negligence and that would dramatically increase the judgements.

      We all desperately want football, but you sometimes just need to admit to yourself that you are ignorant of all the information necessary to be informed otherwise you’re just a dimwit jousting with windmills.

    • Corder
      4:43 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Wow. You call someone a dimwit because they don’t agree with how you see things. That’s the main problem with all of this. So many blanket statements about so many people and things that if you don’t believe or disagree with what someone says you are all for people dying. Give it a rest. We were told to believe and trust all these experts yet so many of them have been completely wrong and in fact have been proven wrong time and time agin yet we should blindly believe everything they say. Good luck with that logic and the rest of us will continue to live our lives with out fear of hurting your feelings.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      5:12 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      satchel, if I’m not mistaken, I believe you have some experience in the area of risk management. I think you’ve mentioned it once or twice on this site over the last few days (haha…sorry…I had to get a little dig in there). Can you explain why there is more risk letting guys play football than there is having in person classes? If you have addressed that before I missed it. Everything you said in this thread applies to that as well.

    • satcheluk
      9:39 am August 14, 2020 Permalink

      Lol, I have indeed belabored that point. I hope I am forgiven if I have gotten overly aggressive about this, but since I have COVID it infuriates me when I read so many people calling it a hoax or minimizing its effects.

      As for the perceived risk of attending class vs playing sports, that’s a great question and I don’t have a great answer. We’d have to talk to their lawyers to see what legal arguments they would use to differentiate. Guessing here, but if they offer full online classes and you choose to go in person, then you’ve accepted the risk and you would have to prove gross negligence to have the school be liable. They gave you a safer option and you chose not decline it. Maybe the leagues should offer video game football as an option, lol.

    • ScoggDog
      6:05 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Please tell me – Satchel – how clear should the data be before those in power choose to let us all be free ?

      How finely must the risk be defined ? How many variables must be discovered ?

      Honestly – how sure must you be of your math before you tap out and say – “Sorry, I was wrong” ?

      The answer is never. You have no incentive to do so. But you are personally motivated to come here and defend your vocation.

      This is why people should take “expert” testimony with a grain of salt.

    • satcheluk
      9:54 am August 14, 2020 Permalink

      That’s a great question Scogg. It all depends on leadership. I work for a very conservative insurance company, so our tolerance for risk is minimal and our risk controls are great. A small organization without 1000’s of shareholders can take much more risk because if you own the business you can do whatever you want. If you have a board of directors you have a fiduciary duty to your stakeholders to make a decision in their BEST interests, so if you take a wild risk and fail then not only will the business fail, but you can be held personally liable.

      Actuaries collect data, measure the risk and put a price tag on it for the decision makers to decide to offload to an insurance company, self-insure(meaning keep your fingers crossed) or avoid the risk by canceling the decision. I can tell you that there is not enough data for these folks to make a decision with confidence and I would bet my right arm they can’t find any insurance company to cover this right now, so any league/school that decides to proceed is rolling the dice and praying the black swan doesn’t land in their yard. The chance of anything bad happen maybe relatively low, but the negative financial repercussions could be more than devastating. I major wrongful death lawsuit could put the school out of business. A death on the field due to a football action is covered by the school’s liability insurance. A death from COVID would not be. If you had the choice to go one year unemployed and likely be able to work next year vs a 2% chance of complete financial devastation, losing all you have including your family. Would you take that risk? That’s what they are grappling with, except the negative would not just affect them it would affect 10s maybe 100s of thousands of people.

  12. light my fire
    2:45 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    It’s all about wrecking the great economy Trump has for us so Dems can win and destroy the middle class with taxes and get everyone on welfare so they can be controlled. Next will be taking the guns and not to mention all the illegals that will be allowed and get all kind of free perks at hand of those still able to work.

  13. ScoggDog
    2:58 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    So my comment laying out the fact that over 90% of the cases ever reported in Arizona are still considered active is – under moderation.

    The numbers still don’t lie. If you’re looking for “clearly defined risk” as some measure to justify all this – keep looking. And the number everyone in that line of work looks for is zero.

    Zero is not achievable. Opening your front door is a risky proposition. How much risk are you willing to take ?

    And how much risk are you willing to avoid ? Especially just because somebody else said you should ?

  14. Trinity45
    3:16 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    If you are still going to have in person classes, but cancel sports because of concerns over health problems, not sure you have the high ground. Students in school are going to do what they want, party etc. So I don’t see how you can have in person classes with thousands of students running around, but cancel football.

  15. BallDontLie
    4:35 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    Kind of scary how dumb some of these comments are in here.

    • DaaaaCats
      11:21 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

      Amen. Why do I keep clicking on the comments knowing I’ll cringe while reading them?

  16. UKinIN
    5:26 pm August 13, 2020 Permalink

    “Make subtlety obvious.” – Billy Wilder

  17. satcheluk
    10:13 am August 14, 2020 Permalink

    Also Corder- that’s how the scientific method works. We observe something new (novel). We then observe it for a while and we hypothesize. Then we test the hypothesis and we see we were wrong on some of our assumptions and we continue the process until we have a solid grasp. That process usually takes many years and we’ve been on it for 7 months. They weren’t wrong in the sense that someone ignorant of science would say, “now I can’t trust them!!”, they are merely following the scientific method. And you and so many wanted a conclusion to that process after a few months when it often takes 5 or even 10 years. If you can’t even understand the basic premise of how science works how can anyone have a legitimate debate on this? That is the frustration. So many ignorant (not an insult-a descriptive fact due to lack of pertinent knowledge) are screaming their angry opinions without an acceptable level of baseline understanding of all of the variables under scrutiny. The people making the decisions, many of them anyway, don’t have this knowledge either, which is why they have medical committees advise them and then they have to make an excruciatingly difficult decision in which they should probably cancel the season for reasons I have stated all over this board, but the pressure from ignorant fans screaming at them is making it much more difficult to make a sane decision. I hope we play. I hope they can get to a place where they can make it financially feasible, but I also know that I don’t know what they know, so why would one criticize them and their decisions when one only has 2% of the available information and 0% of the knowledge to make that decision?

    • BallDontLie
      7:37 am August 15, 2020 Permalink

      Thanks for your posts. Some of lunacy on here is truly mind numbing. Tip of the cap for explaining without getting nasty even though they still refuse to accept it. Ignorance is bliss.