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UW Health’s Dr. Jeff Pothof on future of college fall sports

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MADISON (WKOW)-- UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof says the virus is very influenced by behaviors, and if behaviors change, there's a chance for fall sports.

"Let's say that some of these measures that are being implemented, mandatory mask-wearing, people pay a little bit more attention to physical distancing, and our numbers start to drop down, we flatten that curve again, I think then there is the possibility that sports, in a way that is probably very different than what we're used to last year, might come back, but right now it's hard to say. I think it is prudent to plan for it, but I don't think there are any guarantees."

If fall sports happen, the Big Ten Conference is planning for a conference-only schedule. Dr. Pothof said there is a benefit to that.

"I am not certain, but I think within the Big Ten there can probably be some standardization so that a team playing another Big Ten team has a pretty good idea of what safety precautions are in place across the Big Ten, how are those players being isolated, what kind of restrictions are (there) when they are out of their sporting event, how often are they testing."

With only Big Ten games, there is more fluidity for the regular-season schedule.

"It could work out either way," Dr. Pothof said. "Right now with virus numbers escalating and getting higher every day, you'd think that the prudent thing would be to shift things later to give us more time to get in control of the virus. On the flip side, once we start hitting influenza season, and get later into the fall, we're worried that the virus could spike up again.

As for his thoughts about fans in the stands at Camp Randall, right now it is unlikely.

"With two record breaking days in a row, it's not a possibility today. Things would have to change for us to start considering that an option."

Karley Marotta

Weekend Sports Anchor

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