Nick Saban cleared to coach Alabama Saturday night

Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban (Screen grab from news conference)

Alabama plays Georgia Saturday night.

Posted: Oct 17, 2020 11:35 AM
Updated: Oct 17, 2020 5:14 PM

The University of Alabama announced Saturday that Coach Nick Saban has tested negative for coronavirus a third time and is cleared to coach in Saturday night's game against Georgia.

Here's the university's full statement:

Statement on Coach Saban from Team Physician Dr. Jimmy Robinson

“Upon evaluation today, Coach Saban remains completely asymptomatic. To address the potential for a false positive, the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol allows for follow-up testing to clear the individual’s return to activity. That protocol requires three negative PCR tests 24 hours apart.

Because Coach Saban remained asymptomatic, he received PCR testing at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and today through the SEC appointed lab. Each of those tests were negative and were reported via the SEC’s third-party testing provider to the conference office in Birmingham. Those three negative tests satisfied the SEC protocol for a false positive. Out of an abundance of caution, two additional PCR tests were administered at the same time on Thursday and Friday and were tested by a separate lab. Those tests were also negative.

Due to the fact that Coach Saban has remained completely symptom-free and had five negative PCR tests, split between two separate labs, the initial test from Wednesday is considered a false positive under the SEC protocols. Again, that initial positive result came from an outside lab we’ve used to supplement the SEC mandated testing. We have been in constant communication with the conference office throughout this process to ensure compliance with all applicable protocols. In accordance with the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol and with the approval of The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force, Coach Saban is medically cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately.”


Following is a statement from the Southeastern Conference Office on Alabama head coach Nick Saban:

“Upon being notified by the University of Alabama of a potential positive COVID-19 test result involving Nick Saban, the SEC Office provided and reviewed with the university the COVID-19 management requirements established by the SEC’s Medical Guidance Task Force and emphasized the need to comply with all local and state health policies.

“Consistent with the Conference’s COVID-19 management requirements, PAE, the third-party provider secured by the SEC to standardize and provide testing for the 14 member institutions, has utilized the authorized laboratory in processing and reporting the three tests 24 hours apart as necessary to satisfy the requirements of the Task Force policy regarding the handling of asymptomatic PCR positive tests.”


Considerations for Handling Asymptomatic PCR Positive Tests

Asymptomatic individuals with a positive COVID-19 RT-PCR test will be placed immediately into isolation. Within 24 hours of receiving the results of the positive PCR test, the individual may receive a second PCR test at the direction of team medical personnel (test to be administered by PAE).

If the 2nd PCR test is positive, this will confirm an active COVID-19 infection.

If the 2nd PCR test is negative, the individual should receive two (2) additional PCR tests 24 hours apart administered by PAE. If the individual has three (3) successive negative PCR test, and remains asymptomatic, they may be released from isolation and medically cleared to return to athletics activities only. The individual should also return to the surveillance testing program. Contacts associated with the exposure, who are in the SEC’s surveillance testing program, may be released from quarantine for athletics activities only.

All such cases shall be reported to the SEC Medical Task Force by the involved institution’s SEC Task Force member.

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