Most FHSU football players improve, return to practice

University and health officials are still awaiting the results of medical tests to determine the exact nature of an illness that struck a couple dozen members of the Fort Hays State University football team, but most of those players were expected to return to practice today.

Beginning Sunday night, members of the team began to fall ill with flu-like symptoms. As of this morning, 25 players and two coaches had been affected. Four of the players had been hospitalized at Hays Medical Center. Dr. Randy Cook said this morning that one of those players had not improved significantly, but the other three were better and one likely would be released sometime today.

"They appear to be improving," Dr. Cook said of the football team, "but we still don't have definitive lab results."

The university and health officials will release test results immediately when they become available.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are continuing interviews with the football team and inspections of the football facilities. Health officials did not close the men's locker room at Lewis Field Stadium, but the university moved the team to the visitors' locker room on the opposite side of the stadium as a precautionary measure.
Equipment was being removed from the vacated locker room this morning. The equipment that is "hard" in nature -- helmets, some pads, etc. -- will be sprayed with disinfectant and put in the sun to dry. The uniforms and "soft" equipment will be laundered.

Meanwhile, the team ran through plays this morning and plans to practice in pads tonight. The players who have been sick will be checked for temperature and other symptoms. Team officials said they expected 17 or 18 of the players who had been ill to return to practice at 7 tonight.

"This has been an unsettling situation as we wait for a clear diagnosis," said Dr. Herb Songer, FHSU vice president of student affairs. "Throughout this situation, our primary concern has been and continues to be the health of these young men."

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Kent Steward, Director   |  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |