Preparations for the upcoming college football season look different than usual this year. At Penn State, the team is taking cautious steps like wearing masks and social distancing around team facilities. These are just a few of the new requirements the team is dealing with.

Sacrifices To Be Made

Cornerback Keaton Ellis is one of the players ready to make this new normal work. As he met with the media over a video conference call, he seemed to share the sentiment of his team when he said he they were determined to play.

“We’re ready as players to make some sacrifices because that’s what it’s going to take to move forward,” said Ellis, who also played for State College High.

“One of the biggest sacrifices is going to be outside of football. Making sure everybody’s being accountable for each other and staying inside the team and not going out and doing different things that could risk and jeopardize people (amid the coronavius).

“We’re all going to have to make some tough sacrifices, but as a team I think we’re prepared to do that and move forward.”

”As far as mindset planning, we’re all going to be just as hungry.

Keaton EllisCornerback for Penn State Football

What do these preparations look like in a pandemic? 75 Penn State players were brought back, tested for COVID-19, and quarantined for a week. With supervised workouts beginning on Monday, the cleared athletes will be able to lift weights and run in small groups. Over time, the workouts will gradually increase in intensity and interaction with the coaches. Currently, the training camp is still on for August.

Presence Of Fans In Question

While college football currently plans to be back in time for Labor Day weekend, there’s doubt that fans will be involved. With large stadiums and close seating arrangements, it’s unclear how the leagues across the country will handle social distancing measures and attendance.

Another consideration is Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent protocols for sports in Pennslyvania calls for no more than 50% capacity for events in the foreseeable future. This rule would impact Penn State, who is known for its high energy, packed 30,000 student section.

”We’re ready as players to make some sacrifices because that’s what it’s going to take to move forward.

Keaton EllisCornerback for Penn State Football

“You always talk about the 12th player, right? The fans, they’re the best. They really can change a game or change a play just by their support, being vocal,” Ellis said. “So it’s definitely going to be a change for us. But as far as mindset planning, we’re all going to be just as hungry and we’re all going to find that extra juice you normally get from the fans, we’re still going to find a way to still get that.”

An Expert Opinion

The reopening of sports becoming even more of a possibility, even for high contact sports like football. What’s changed from the days when the return seemed impossible? Dr. Rand McClain, chief medical officer of LCR Health in California, shares that while the virus cannot be completely prevented, the environment is not as threatening as it once appeared.

For example, McClain says that transmitting the disease from a surface to hands to face is less likely than originally thought. Another thing to note is the fact that college athletes are one of the most resistant groups when it comes to contracting serious versions of COVID-19.

“We’re staying optimistic. Each day, things seem to get better,” he said, referring to knowledge of how the disease infects and can be treated. “I work toward saying, ‘Play the games.’ You can always stop and shut everything down along the way” if things worsen.

McClain also echoed Ellis’ point about sacrifice: Players must make consistent, responsible decisions about social distancing for the coming months to protect themselves, their team and even their opponents.

“All of the testing goes to pot if (athletes) go to fraternity parties or to a bar the following week.

“Football, it’s going to be a test.”

Article originally posted at York Daily Record.

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