Chickenpox has invaded the San Diego State football training camp.
Three Aztecs players have been diagnosed with the highly contagious viral infection, and given that players have been in close contact with each other, head coach Rocky Long fears that more players could get chickenpox (via San Diego Union-Tribune):
“I’m afraid that it might not be just three of them,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said after Saturday night’s scrimmage. “The team’s been together for a whole week now.
“It’s dramatic if we lose a few more. … What if it hits 10 other ones?”
The players dealing with chickenpox are starting right tackle Ryan Pope (a junior), and senior linebackers Temerick Harper and Tyler Morris. They were prescribed medication, and if the medication works, they could only miss one week. However, if the medication doesn’t work, the players could miss up to three weeks.
While the SDSU staff won’t have a firm answer for a few days, the team’s trainers believe the chickenpox outbreak is an “isolated case”:
The larger concern is whether the outbreak is contained or has already been spread to others. That should be evident within the next 3-5 days. Long said trainers “think it’s an isolated case.”
“They’re guessing that Tyler Morris never had a vaccination, but they don’t know where he got it,” Long said. “This is scary because it might spread through the whole team.”
The Aztecs’ season opener is under three weeks away on September 2nd against UC Davis, so if the virus spreads and the medication isn’t effective, the team could have a serious problem. And, even if players are healthy enough to play by then, they’re still missing valuable practice time in camp.
San Diego State is coming off an 11-3 season, a Las Vegas Bowl victory, and two straight Mountain West championships. They have quietly built a top Mountain West program and are ranked in The Comeback’s Top-50 countdown entering the 2017 college football season.
UPDATE: The number of San Diego State players with chickenpox is now up to five, and they had to cancel Monday night’s practice.