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Northwestern resumes football practices

The Wildcats returned to the football field for the first time since a false positive for COVID-19 led to 37 players being quarantined and workouts being paused.

The Northwestern football program resumed practices after a player received a false positive coronavirus test.
The Northwestern football program resumed practices after a player received a false positive coronavirus test.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Northwestern returned to the football field for the first time since a false positive for COVID-19 led to 37 players being quarantined and workouts being paused.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the start of camp the Wildcats still are “batting a thousand” after a player who tested for the virus last week did not have it after all.

“I think it showed us that our plan and our execution of our plan has been flawless,” he said.

Fitzgerald was at dinner July 31 when he learned about the positive result and that contact tracing protocols were being enacted. The decision to put workouts on hold was made after team physician Jeff Mjaanes consulted with Northwestern University Health Services doctors.

Fitzgerald said they learned Wednesday afternoon after more tests that no one had the virus. He also said workouts this week would have been lighter anyway. They could have resumed Thursday, but Fitzgerald opted to wait until the start of camp.

“Really proud of our guys with the choices they’re making,” he said. “It’s not a four-hour problem that they’re in the building; it’s the other 20 hours that I think’s a challenge for every college football player and every college student.”