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Reports: Badgers QB Mertz tests positive for coronavirus

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MADISON (WKOW) -- After a dazzling debut Friday night, Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has initially tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple reports.

The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that with all positive tests that occur using the daily rapid antigen tests, Mertz will be taking a PCR nasal swab test in order to confirm his status.

According to the Big Ten Conference’s protocols, any player that is confirmed to have tested positive must sit out of practice and games for at least 21 days.

There is a possibility that Mertz's initial positive test, was a false-positive, the nasal swab test would help prove that.

Mertz went 20-21, for 248 yards and five touchdown passes in his starting debut Friday night in a 45-7 win against Illinois.

If Mertz can't play, and with Jack Coan already sitting out with a foot injury, Redshirt sophomore Chase Wolf would likely step in as the Badgers starting quarterback.

Wisconsin Athletics released the following statement on Sunday evening.

"Wisconsin Athletics continues to conduct daily antigen testing for the student-athletes, coaches and selected support staff associated with the Badger football program. Individuals who receive a negative antigen test result continue to participate in team activities. Individuals who receive a presumptive positive antigen test result are removed from team activities and are required to take a PCR test to confirm positivity.

No student-athletes, coaches or support staff members who participated in Friday’s game against Illinois recorded positive antigen tests or reported having any symptoms on Friday prior to the game.

Per Big Ten Conference policy, all COVID-19 positive student-athletes must self-isolate for 10 days. Following their self-isolation period, they have to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing to include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram and a Cardiac MRI. Following cardiac evaluation, student-athletes must receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university for the primary purpose of cardiac clearance for COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.

Wisconsin Athletics will not be releasing COVID-related testing information regarding any individual student-athlete, due to medical privacy. We will continue to follow Big Ten Conference COVID-19 protocols developed by the Big Ten medical subcommittee and approved by the conference’s presidents and chancellors."

Paul Chryst is scheduled to talk with the media on Monday at 10:30 a.m.

Alec Ausmus

Sports reporter

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