Ohio State is not taking social distancing lightly.
COVID-19 presents not only a health risk to the Buckeye players and coaches but a significant threat to their season, as well.
With a positive test sidelining a player for 21 days, exposure to the virus could be disastrous for Ohio State’s national title hopes, potentially causing a player or a group of players to miss three games – a third this year’s shortened schedule.
“Here, when we’re in the building we feel really, really safe,” Ryan Day said on Friday. “The daily tests we’re going through, we know there are 170 people that test daily that are clean. It’s a great feeling to know that in this building when you’re around this bubble right here, you’re good. But once you leave here, everything changes. And honestly, it’s scary because it could ruin your whole season just like that, one day with one exposure.”
Ohio State knows what’s at stake, and knows the ramifications of potential exposure, and they’re doing everything they can to keep that from happening with some coaches even going as far as to sleep away from their own homes to avoid potential exposure.
“It’s scary because it could ruin your whole season just like that, one day with one exposure.”– Ryan Day
“It’s very difficult because for those of us who have school-age children at home, it’s very, very difficult to make sacrifices,” Day said. “Some of us are not sleeping in our homes, and it’s not easy.”
Day said there are no guidelines or mandates in place dictating that a coach must socially distance from his family, but after conversations about the potential risks of exposure with school-aged children, some have taken precautions.
“Each guy is handling it their own way, and it isn’t easy,” Day said. “Their school-aged kids are going to school and coming back in and then they have their wives – it’s hard. It’s not easy. It’s a new dynamic and it’s a challenge for all of us. But we’re letting each guy handle it their own way.”
With three school-aged children of his own, this is a situation Day must navigate with his family, too.
“My family – we’re still trying to figure this part of it out,” Day said. “This is all new to us. It’s a major challenge. We’re working through it and trying to figure out what’s best. Right now, it’s kind of more outside and when I go in the house I’m wearing a mask.”
Toby Wilson, the son of Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, told Eleven Warriors after his Olentangy High School football game on Friday that his father has been home with his family, but that they have had all had to be careful to limit their risk of potential exposure.
“It’s been pretty stressful,” Toby Wilson said. “Obviously that falls on us, the kids and the whole family. We can’t really be around too many people. Gotta be safe, gotta be cautious. So you know, if we can’t follow those protocols and be respectful of him and what he has to get done in the office and with his team, then he’s gotta go out and spend time in a hotel away from us and none of us want that, so we just gotta follow those protocols and be safe.”
Be it at home, in the facilities, or out in public, Day knows he and his team have to do whatever they can to protect themselves from exposure – and they can’t let up.
“We can’t get tired of it,” Day said. “We talk about it every day. If you get tired of it and you take a deep breath, it can get you really fast.”