Most of the players on the Fort Hays State University football team who had been stricken by an undetermined illness returned to practice Thursday, and all the rest were showing definite signs of improvement.
Members of the team began to fall ill with flu-like symptoms on Sunday, and four of the players were hospitalized at Hays Medical Center. One of those players was released Thursday and returned to the team. Marty Griffey, physician assistant to Dr. Randy Cook, the attending physician, said he expected to release another of the players today. He said the other two hospitalized players were recovering more slowly but were showing definite signs of improvement."Everyone who has been affected seems to be progressing pretty well," Griffey said.
It appears that 25 of the players on the 89-man roster and two coaches have been affected. However, two other players were taken to the emergency room at HMC last night. Dr. Cook said those players did not need to be admitted and it was not clear whether they fit the pattern of the other illnesses.
Brian Razak, head trainer, said the team is conducting full, normal practices and most of the players who had been ill have returned to practice. He said an exact count was problematic because other factors also were involved. For example, one of the players may have strep throat and will be taken to the Student Health Center for testing, and another of the players is not practicing because some eligibility issues have arisen.
Officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have been in Hays throughout the week. They are conducting extensive interviews with the affected players and coaches to discover commonalities. Dr. Cook said he expected to have results from the medical tests by Monday. Accordingly, the university has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Monday at Lewis Field Stadium to release the results of the tests.