Georgia Football: Impact of positive COVID test

It’s less than 72 hours from kickoff in the Duke’s Mayo Classic and Georgia football is dealing with its first COVID scare of the young season.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Wednesday night that Georgia football’s accomplished sports medicine director, Ron Courson, tested positive for COVID-19.

How could this affect Georgia football as it continues preparations for the opener against Clemson in Charlotte?

First and foremost, let’s hope that Ron Courson is either asymptomatic, or is having as mild a case of COVID as possible. Absent his guidance and leadership, Georgia football would not have been in the position of health it occupied throughout the tumultuous 2020 season, nor would they been in such a position of strength from a vaccination perspective up and down the roster.

Courson was even on the Southeastern Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, established as a collective effort to hold intercollegiate athletics during the 2020-2021 seasons.

What the positive test could mean for Georgia heading in to Saturday night’s contest, well, the short answer is, it’s complicated. As the Director of Sports Medicine, Courson oversees treatment and rehabilitation for the entire Georgia football roster.

That not only includes players who are rehabbing injuries that will keep them out of Saturday night’s game already, but also players dealing with the day-to-day maintenance of the body required due to the rigors of football practice and preparation.

As of this morning, there have been no new reports of Georgia players being symptomatic or going through COVID protocols. However, given the breadth of Courson’s access and contact with the players, the worry is that contact tracing could present possible issues.

The current SEC protocols provide that unless they display symptoms, vaccinated players are not required to be tested or to quarantine.

Kirby Smart has been consistent in his messaging about the importance of players getting vaccinated and, as of the start of fall camp, Georgia was at the 90% vaccination mark.

If those numbers have not increased, that would mean 10% of Georgia’s roster would be subject to COVID testing.

The hope for Georgia football fans is health and safety for all players and staff, and a jubilant weekend of football and fellowship in Charlotte.