CORONAVIRUS

Iowa State athletics department announces positive coronavirus test result

4 athletes also reporting symptoms

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State athletics director during a 2018 visit to Cedar Rapids, announced the first positive COVID-19
Jamie Pollard, Iowa State athletics director during a 2018 visit to Cedar Rapids, announced the first positive COVID-19 test inside the department. (The Gazette)

AMES — As college athletics begin to gear back up with voluntary workouts beginning, or beginning soon, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Iowa State athletics department announced Wednesday a staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to a release, a part-time student-worker notified the department over the weekend of their diagnosis. The person is in quarantine and anyone they worked closely with also is in quarantine. Iowa State is taking additional contact tracing measures to make sure the person didn’t potentially infect anyone else.

“The potential for infections and positive test results has always been very real for an organization like ours and we’ve been thorough and diligent in planning for such incidents,” Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard said in a statement released by the athletics department. “Our medical team, headed by Mark Coberley, has done a magnificent job in preparing protocols and procedures for countless scenarios related to the virus.”

As more student athletes return to campus, the athletics department will continue to educate them on proper hygiene practices and responsible behavior to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus will be restricted from athletics department facilities for three to six weeks.

“This certainly is not a great surprise,” Pollard said in the release. “We believe our plan to isolate infected individuals, continually communicate and educate our student-athletes and staff on proper hygiene, ongoing efforts to thoroughly sanitize our facilities, and implement other strategies as necessary, will allow us to ultimately be successful in mitigating the impact of the virus.”

Iowa State also announced four athletes from two sports have symptoms of the coronavirus after being in close contact with individuals outside of the department who have COVID-19. According to the release, those student athletes also are in quarantine and are awaiting test results.

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Alexis Gomez, a wrestler on the Grand View women’s team and the sister of Iowa State wrester Austin Gomez, tweeted Tuesday that their dad, Hector, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is “fighting for his life.”

“Everyone might have thought or still thinks covid isn’t as bad as it is. Well... Covid hit my family and the most important piece to our puzzle. My father Hector is fighting for his life right now. I came on here to ask y’all to have faith and pray for him,” she wrote.

Austin added in his own tweet that the last three days have been tough for their family but, “My father is going to get through this like the fighter he is. I don’t ask for anything, but if there is one thing I ask is for everyone to say a prayer for my dad as he fights this fight. Stay strong dad, We love you.”

The Gomezes received immediate responses, words of encouragement and well wishes from across the wrestling community. Hector is a wrestling fixture in Illinois a founder of the Gomez Wrestling Academy.

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

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All donations are tax-deductible.