The Georgia Bulldogs football team is more than 90% vaccinated against COVID-19 and yet they’re still dealing with the very harsh reality of positive tests from players and staff members that are fully vaccinated against the virus.
On Saturday night, No. 5 Georgia played its opening game of the 2021 regular season in Charlotte against No. 3 Clemson. Georgia’s defense thoroughly dominated Clemson’s offensive line, sacking quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei seven times and holding Clemson’s offense to just 180 total yards.
It was a massive victory for the Bulldogs, but it was different news on Monday that grabbed everyone’s attention.
The football program is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, and the positive tests are coming back for players that are fully vaccinated.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been, because we have three or four guys out with COVID and we have a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “For us, we’re at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated. We’re talking about breakthroughs, and so that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated, that are playing and not playing, because we want everybody to be safe. But it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated that we could lose them.”
Smart did not say which players had tested positive, though he did discuss the positive test of Ron Courson — Georgia’s sports medicine director — who was forced to miss Saturday’s game in Charlotte.
“Ron’s doing good, he’s had a tough run,” Smart said. “Ron’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met in my life, and he’s never not been at this building on any day. Never not been here two days in a row, including spring break and off time, and it’s killing him, I think, to not be here. His health seems good and, hopefully, he’ll be back.”
Smart had previously praised Courson for his efforts in getting many players vaccinated.
“We are above 90% [vaccinations]. Ron [Courson] and his staff have done a tremendous job making sure that guys feel comfortable getting the vaccination,” Smart said. “We feel really comfortable with where we are. My goal is always to be 100%, because I think that it is the safest thing for our players. In terms of ‘back-to-normal,’ I would not say it is back-to-normal, because it is not exactly normal.”
Georgia plays its second game of the season against UAB on Saturday.
While the college football season started off with a bang this past weekend, COVID still had a small impact.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin was forced to miss his team’s first game against Louisville Monday night in Atlanta after testing positive over the weekend.
“I am disappointed to confirm that I have developed a break-through case of Covid and will not accompany our team to Atlanta,” Kiffin said in a statement. “I am grateful to be vaccinated and experiencing only mild symptoms. So much so, I debated over being tested, but I’m relieved that I did. I’m proud of our program’s commitment to vaccination, and as a result, there are currently no other cases to report or team members expected to miss the game.”
Kiffin previously stated that the Ole Miss program was “100% vaccinated.” The Rebels beat Louisville Monday night 43-24.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].