Physical, mental health priorities for student-athletes during NCAA tournament

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — All but one of the 68 teams playing in the NCAA tournament are now in Indianapolis.

The Marion County Public Health Department and the NCAA have extensive protocols in place to keep the student-athletes healthy, both physically and mentally.

As of Tuesday, 2,300 COVID-19 tests were administered; five of those came back positive.

Dan Gavitt, senior vice president of basketball with the NCAA, said it should not be assumed that any of those come from players or coaches.

At this point, Gavitt said he does not anticipate having to replace any of the 68 teams. However, some officials have already been replaced after one tested positive and five others were considered close contacts by the Marion County Public Health Department.

“We have a replacement policy for teams, for officials, we have very clearly defined and communicated protocols in place for team travel, testing,” said Gavitt.

Gavitt said each player is required to take a PCR test upon arrival, then quarantine in their rooms until they take another test 12 hours later.

“Teams before they even arrive in Indianapolis have seven consecutive daily tests, so they come in with a high level of confidence of safety and health,” said Gavitt.

Mental health is also a priority. Gavitt said athletes can use Victory Field as a place to get away, while still being isolated from the general public.

Additional entertainment, like the zoo and Top Golf, is planned for teams that advance further in the tournament.

Gavitt said contact tracing and quarantine are handled by the Marion County Public Health Department. Players are wearing contact tracing devices to help.