Big Ten agrees to return to football in October, with 'significant medical protocols'

R.J. Shelton, No. 12 of the Michigan State Spartan, battles for yards during a second quarter kickoff return while playing the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium on Oct. 29, 2016, in East Lansing, Michigan. (WWMT/Getty Images, Gregory Shamus)

Big Ten Conference officials announced Wednesday that they'll return to the field — "with significant medical protocols."

Conference presidents and chancellors voted to resume the football season starting the weekend of Oct. 23-24.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said that the team working on the plan has been focused on the health and safety of student-athletes.

“Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” Warren said in a written announcement on the Big Ten Conference's website. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

Student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games will be required to undergo daily antigen testing. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus through point of contact (POC) daily testing would require a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result of the POC test.

“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” Dr. Jim Borchers said in a written announcement on the conference's website. Borchers is the head team physician at The Ohio State University and co-chair of the conference's Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.

“The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities," Borchers said.

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