Virginia Tech addresses COVID-19 concerns raised by departing Hokie Caleb Farley

Coronavirus

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Virginia Tech football responded Monday to concerns about player safety protocols after one of their top defensive players wrote about what he saw during workouts this summer.

What he wrote painted an alarming picture of what’s happening at practice.

Cornerback Caleb Farley said he started having deep concerns about staying healthy after he saw some of his teammates take trips to places like Myrtle Beach and then come back to practice without getting tested.

Farley wrote about these issues in an article published on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk Monday morning. He claimed players were “working out, close to each other” and that at one point they were “100-deep in our indoor facility, no masks.”

This year at Virginia Tech, at our workouts, I started having deep concerns about staying healthy. Guys were going home, going to Myrtle Beach, coming back to campus, and we weren’t getting tested. We’re all together, working out, close to each other, and you have no real idea who might have it, if anybody might have it. One day I looked around, and we were like 100-deep in our indoor facility, no masks. My concern grew more and more.

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk (August 3, 2020)

Farley explained that his growing concerns were part of the reason why he decided to opt of playing football this fall.

In response, the school’s chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Rogers, released a statement.

“The health and welfare of our student-athletes and staff, as well as the Virginia Tech and surrounding communities continues to be our foremost priority. All Virginia Tech student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and screened before being cleared to participate in any athletic activities. In addition, follow-up testing protocols are performed on a regular basis in accordance with Centers for Disease Control, ACC and NCAA recommendations.

“In addition, daily screening protocols and monitoring measures are in place in accordance with the standards established by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Montgomery County public health officials. An abundance of caution continues to be utilized to ensure all equipment and facilities are sanitized and cleaned appropriately.

“Student-athletes and staff have been issued personal protective equipment to wear in indoor areas. The Beamer-Lawson Practice Facility continues to be utilized in an open-air configuration in accordance with health department guidelines. As another safety precaution, all staff members have been issued additional personal protective equipment to wear during workouts and practices. In conjunction with Mike Goforth and Tech’s Sports Medicine team, we will continue to follow the latest guidance from Virginia Tech, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the CDC.”

Virginia Tech Football statement, August 3, 2020

Head coach Justin Fuente said in a statement Monday that he had spoken with Farley regarding his concerns.

“I spoke with Caleb earlier today and I feel much better about the context of his comments regarding his personal concerns regarding COVID-19. In our conversation I also told Caleb that I will always love and support him and that I’m looking forward to cheering him on as he pursues his dream of playing in the National Football League. We at Virginia Tech will always wish Caleb Farley and his family the very best.

“One of my most important responsibilities as the head coach of the football program at Virginia Tech is to put the best interests of our team, our players, our coaches and our staff at the forefront of every decision we make. We are entrusted with that task every day. I have the utmost confidence in medical guidance provided by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mark Rogers and our Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine, Mike Goforth, as well as the plan they are implementing along with our campus officials to allow our team to train and prepare for the upcoming season. I appreciate their tireless work and support the procedures they have put in place for our team.” 

Justin Fuente, Head Football Coach, August 3, 2020

Virginia Tech has yet to release any results from its COVID-19 testing of its student athletes who have arrived on campus to begin training for the fall. Individual schools are not required to disclose testing results.

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