The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Game on, despite H1N1 concerns

Breathe easy, football fans. It’s going to take a “pandemic” scenario before officials call off the Hawkeyes’ football game on account of a virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released detailed recommendations regarding the containment and prevention of H1N1 for institutions of higher education.

The report advises colleges to “consider whether to suspend or modify public events such as films, sporting events ,or commencement ceremonies.” It also suggests individuals increase “social distances.” For instance, there should be 6 feet between people at most times.

Iowa Associate Athletics Director Mark Abbott said the only way a football game would be canceled or suspended is if an outbreak of pandemic proportions occurred.

To his knowledge, Big Ten athletics officials have not discussed a specific number of cases that would call for a game to be canceled, however. The conference’s prestige also is one reason.

“Quite frankly, there’s hardly a game in football that doesn’t have significance in the conference,” Abbott said.

H1N1 has already been responsible for some disruption on football fields this summer. During a mid-August practice, slightly fewer than half of the football players at Duke University were hit with symptoms resembling the virus. Some were quarantined, ESPN reported.

At the University of Kansas, nearly 200 students had reported flu-like symptoms on Thursday. No events have been rescheduled, according to a campus alert.

Some UI students said they feel the attention the H1N1 virus is receiving right now is unnecessary.

“I think they’re over-hyping the whole thing, and I’m sick of all the warnings,” UI graduate student Cornelius Stoehr said. “It would be good to have an emergency plan, but more people are dying from the flu than this.”

But UI senior Hana Katsenes said she understands people could become infected easily at a large event.

“What happens if someone is sick but doesn’t know they have [H1N1] and they go to the game?” the 22-year-old said.

Although university instructors have added flu-related absences to their syllabi, UI spokesman Tom Moore said because the H1N1 virus hasn’t mutated yet, it is being treated like a common illness.

“We take the same approach in dealing with this as with any other influenza,” he said. “You prevent the transmission the same way.”

Moore recommended that if anyone believes they have H1N1 symptoms they should stay home, whether they are planning on going to class or an event.

Symptoms of the virus include sore throats, coughing and fever.

Abbott said he does not recall a time the UI had to prepare for a situation of pandemic proportions that would call for the cancellation or postponement of a football game. He said he would be surprised if it happened because of H1N1.

“If one school doesn’t believe it can compete, than it won’t,” he said. “But I don’t expect it to happen.”

More to Discover