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Six Citadel athletes, including football players, test positive for COVID-19; workouts halted

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The Bulldogs enter the stadium before a game against Mercer at Johnson Hagood Stadium. File/Staff 

Six Citadel athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, and the Bulldogs are halting voluntary summer workouts for football and other sports, a school official said Saturday.

The athletes experienced "mild symptoms" and are being quarantined at home, school spokesman Lt. Col. John Dorrian. said.

Four of the athletes were last on campus on June 23, and the fifth and sixth were last there on June 25, Dorrian said. Citadel athletes began voluntary workouts on campus on June 15.

A Citadel employee also tested positive on June 25, Dorrian said in a notice sent to the campus. The sixth athlete tested positive after the statement to campus was released.

The athletes, who do include football players, were tested because they had exhibited symptoms, Dorrian said.

Citadel athletic director Mike Capaccio has halted on-campus workouts "until further notice," Dorrian said. 

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The Citadel began what it called a "phased-in" return to workouts on June 15, after the coronavirus pandemic had caused the cancellation of spring sports in March, including team practices and workouts. The Bulldogs were able to get in their football spring practice before the shutdown began.

“We’re taking a little different approach than some of the bigger schools, who have a little more in the way of resources for their teams,” Donnell Boucher, director of strength and conditioning at The Citadel, said last week. “They are bringing basically everybody back. But we are going with a more phased-in approach, which I think is a smarter way for us to do it.”

Hours of meetings between administration, coaches, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and custodial staff resulted in protocols that the athletes were to follow, from face masks to temperature checks and sanitation measures.

“At the end of the day, the season is dependent on how well we can navigate the next couple of weeks safely,” he said. “This pandemic is not over. If we want to keep training and have a chance to play, we’ve got to be careful and keep our eye on the ball.”

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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