NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — All players and staff on Old Dominion University’s men’s basketball team are vaccinated, along with 98% of the football team.
And more than 92 percent of ODU athletes and staff are vaccinated department-wide, said ODU Senior Executive Writer Harry Minium.
Minium shared the news in a piece on Thursday highlighting the work of ODU’s athletic trainers during the pandemic under the direction of ODU’s Scott Johnson, associate athletic director for athletic training and sports medicine.
“When they said no, at that point we would give them the facts about why you should get vaccinated,” Johnson said. “We didn’t pressure anyone. We just wanted them to have the facts.”
ODU is currently requiring all on-campus students and staff to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. There are exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
The remaining unvaccinated ODU athletes will be tested once a week as well, but Johnson is hoping they will eventually become vaccinated.
The milestone for the men’s basketball team comes after assistant coach Bryant Stith contracted COVID-19 in 2020. He has been advocating for vaccinations and said the country’s overall vaccination levels are “extremely disappointing, especially with all that our country experienced over the last year.”
The teams’ vaccination rates not only will go a long way toward keeping athletes and staff healthy, but they could also be a competitive advantage. Other conferences have said teams who can’t play due to COVID issues will have to forfeit games. Conference USA, ODU’s conference, hasn’t taken that stance yet.
Johnson’s athletic training staff features Jason Mitchell, Justin Walker, Lexi George, Rachelle Bowman, Danielle Jackson, Angela Moening, Bobby Broddus, Andilynn Beadles, Alex Trimble and Sydney Lester