Bama Takes Steps Against Flu

The flu is no laughing matter, particularly around Alabama football where All-America nose tackle Terrence Cody has been out for two days with flu symptoms. Crimson Tide cornerback Kareem Jackson saw Cody on campus Thursday. "He told me he hadn't had anything to eat in two days," Jackson said. "I told him I found that hard to believe."

Alabama Coach Nick Saban is taking the influenza situation very seriously. Flu is a major concern throughout the nation, and a college campus, with so many people in close contact is vulnerable.

Saban opened his post-Thursday press briefing with an update on the situation regarding the Crimson Tide football team. He pointed out that Terrence Cody, the Tide's 6-5, 355-pound nose tackle, had missed two days of practice.

"We have a little bit of flu going around," Saban said. "We also have some guys that have some respiratory problems, upper respiratory infection; the difference being if a guy hasw a fever or doesn't have a fever and what his flue symptoms are.

"We immediately have a protocol of what we do relative to testing them for the type of flu they have. We also quarantine the players. We're doing a lot of hygiene- and nutrition-type stuff as preventative measures so that we don't get this throughout our team."

Alabama began football practice on August 5. Classes for the fall semester at The University began just over a week ago, August 19. With the start of classes, Bama was able to expand the roster from 105. Some 25 additional walk-on players joined the team last week. Additionally, players were in class with dozens and dozens of other students. The University's student health center has reported large numbers of patients with flu symptoms.

"It seemed like it was a little worse when the new guys joined us," Saban said. "We didn't have one issue when we had the 105 here. School started, we got new guys here, we got some involvement with the students, and all of a sudden we've got some guys that had a problem with it.

"We probably had four or five guys that eventually had the flu and haven't been at practice," Saban said, indicating that some of them are walk-ons. "And we had four or five other guys who had the upper respiratory thing." He said those players did not have fever and "really not the flu, and they've been able to manage."

He said those who have been ill have been out "two or three days."

Alabama football players live in suites with other players as roommates. Players with flu symptoms have been moved into rooms by themselves in quarantine. "We check on them, take care of them, and make sure they're not around other people," Saban said.

Alabama Offensive Guard Mike Johnson said the staff had done a good job of making sure that all players have "Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, Kleenex" and that hand sanitizer is in places like the entrance to the dining hall. Players have not had flu shots.

"We're doing as much as we can to try to prevent this," Saban said. "We're very hopeful this does not become an issue for college football or sports this fall. Hopefully, management things we're doing will help us not have an issue or a problem."

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