RICHARDSON, Texas — The life of a student-athlete usually has no room for much else besides sports and school. But University of Texas at Dallas baseball player Isaiah Swann is taking on a serious new responsibility in the middle of his senior year.
The neuroscience major is one of just four collegiate athletes the NCAA asked to be on its new coronavirus advisory panel, which is mainly being populated with medical, public health and epidemiology experts. He's served on NCAA committees before.
"I think it's crucial that first off we have this advisory panel to make sure we’re at the forefront of the disease response," said Swann, who plans to pursue a combined MD/PhD.
"Our primary focus is how do we get people to competitions and back healthy. Students...administrators as well, fans, everybody who comes to these competitions, we want to make sure they're able to come and go and be healthy and not contract the virus."
The virus was also top of mind for Governor Greg Abbott Thursday.
"All Texans have the ability to slow the transmission of this virus by doing things like washing your hands regularly, covering coughs and sneezes and staying at home if you're sick," the governor said during a press conference.
Already, two collegiate basketball teams from the Midwest have canceled games in the wake of the disease. And with March Madness around the corner, the NCAA already said it's taking COVID-19 into account in the planning.
"I would imagine that if this virus does have the chance to impact a large event, like March Madness, that’s something we’ll definitely discuss," Swann said.
"I think it's the job of a student-athlete to use our voice because we have one," he continued. "We have a unique perspective and I think it's important for us to leverage that in these conversations."
The panel has not held its first meeting yet.
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