Athletics makes sure everyone is medically ‘cleared before we start’

Mollie Haughawout, Reporter

All sports at California Lutheran University are expected to resume competition this spring. For this to happen, all teams must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines, including receiving a negative test before returning to play.

“Many sports are getting [COVID-19] tested once a month, and the rest get tested at least twice a month,” Head Athletic Trainer Kecia Davis said in a Feb. 5 press conference.

Davis said “there are three different tiers–we call them risk assessments. We have low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk [sports].”

Once the individual teams were grouped into tiers based on their risk level, the athletic department initiated surveillance testing to make sure all athletes get tested for COVID-19.

All athletes that were tested on Feb. 3 in the first round of testing came back negative, Davis said. “All of us are negative; so far so that’s fabulous.”

Davis said all athletes on a team must receive medical clearance, including testing negative for COVID-19, prior to the team’s first practice.

The athletics department is following California Higher Education protocols and NCAA guidance for COVID-19, including testing and contact tracing. In addition, the rule for all members of a team to be tested and receive medical clearance prior to starting practice was recommended by Director of Athletics Dan Kuntz.

“This was my decision to have the entire team be cleared before we start… that was really mainly to make sure that we got everyone covered,” he said during the press conference. “We have to have some things in place to get there, right.”

When sports resume competition, athletes will be tested 48 hours before competition to comply with the California Higher Education protocols and the NCAA requirements, Davis said.

“Our ultimate goal, especially from the coaches, is just to try and be disciplined and only do things that are absolutely necessary,” senior tennis player Isaiah Volk said.

Volk said he is optimistic that so long as people continue to test negative, they should be able to have a semi-regular season. This will only be possible if he and his teammates continue to stay disciplined and follow the stay at home orders for the entire season, Volk said.

“Since golf is outside, everyone is pretty distant,” sophomore golfer Tara Ng said. “We should wear our masks on the range, unless you are far enough away from another person. But mostly the people on the team wear it [at all times].”

Since not all sports are as COVID-safe as tennis and golf, Kuntz said he is doing everything he can to “take into consideration the best way [he] can to educate and guide both coaches and athletes in coming back to sport in a way that’s as safe as possible.”