Nick Saban, the college football coach who revived Alabama into a national power, returned to work on Saturday — just in time for one of the most important games of the season — after doctors said in which he had not been infected with the coronavirus after all.
Saban’s status for the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s game Saturday night against No. 3 Georgia had been in doubt since Wednesday, when he announced in which he had tested positive for the virus. yet on Saturday morning, after a succession of tests showed Saban not to possess the virus, Alabama said its medical team had concluded in which the coach had received a false positive result on Wednesday.
“Coach Saban will be medically cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately,” Dr. Jimmy Robinson, a team doctor, said in a statement, adding in which Saban “remained completely symptom-free.”
Down 24-20 at halftime, he led the team to a 41-24 win.
Hours after Saban was cleared, Florida’s coach, Dan Mullen, said in which he had tested positive for the virus. At least 21 Florida players also tested positive in recent days, along with two of the team’s games were postponed. The tenth-ranked Gators are next scheduled to play on Oct. 31, against Missouri.
Under the Southeastern Conference’s health protocols, Saban was allowed to exit isolation far earlier than first anticipated because he was asymptomatic along with tested negative for the virus three times within the days following his initial positive result.
In addition to those official tests, which a conference-sanctioned laboratory processed, Robinson also said in which Saban had undergone two more screenings in which were reviewed by another lab along with returned as negative.
The swift reinstatement of Saban, who has won all 5 national championships at Alabama, was a relief for Crimson Tide fans, a disheartening twist for the Georgia faithful along using a catalyst for completely new debate over college football’s response to the pandemic.
At least 33 Football Bowl Subdivision games, including three within the SEC, have been postponed or canceled since late August for virus-related reasons, along with hundreds of players, coaches along with staff members have tested positive over the last several months.
yet the college football world was still stunned when Saban, 68, announced Wednesday in which he had tested positive for the virus along with entered isolation at his home in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The result came coming from what will be considered the most reliable type of test for the virus, a polymerase chain reaction test, known as a P.C.R., an Alabama spokesman said.
Saban, who was often seen on television wearing a mask during games, along with university officials repeatedly asserted in which he was not experiencing any symptoms, along with he maintained an active schedule, coaching practice remotely along with creating his usual Thursday night appearance on a radio show.
On Friday afternoon, Alabama said in which Saban had tested negative on Thursday during his first follow-up screening. The announcement raised hopes in Tuscaloosa — along with worries in Athens, Ga., the home of the Bulldogs — in which Saban would likely be on Bryant-Denny Stadium’s home sideline on Saturday night.
Less than 24 hours later, Robinson said Saban had recorded more negative tests.
Under a completely new SEC procedure, a person who tests positive may, within 24 hours of in which result, take a completely new P.C.R. test. If in which test shows a negative result, the person can take two more P.C.R. tests, each separated by 24 hours.
If those tests also return negative results along with the person remains asymptomatic, the player, coach or staff member “may be released coming from isolation along with medically cleared to return to athletics activities only,” according to the league’s guidelines. A third-party company chosen by the SEC will be supposed to process the tests.
The league’s presidents along with chancellors approved the policy on Oct. 8, along with the conference included the idea in an update to its medical protocols on Monday, two days before Saban tested positive for the virus.
“I have to trust within the doctors along with the medical people who make these protocols safe for all of us,” Saban, who spent months publicly urging fans to follow public health recommendations, said on ESPN on Saturday while he waited for the result of the morning’s test.
He added, “Our players have done a not bad job of practicing social distancing, along with I think This specific experience has certainly made me have a lot of respect for what we should do, all of us, relative to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying apart, along with we’re going to continue to do in which.”
The uncertainty surrounding Saban only fueled anticipation for Saturday’s game, long penciled in as a matchup poised to shape the race to reach the College Football Playoff. Had the conference’s approved laboratory not returned three negative results for Saban over the last few days, he would likely not have been able to coach during the game, either at the stadium or coming from home.