WVU Working All Angles For Flu Prevention
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins mentioned “The Panhandle Boys” in response to a question about flu prevention, several members of the media laughed, thinking the head coach was making a joke. That wasn’t the case, though — the Mountaineer veteran head coach was serious about the cleaning and restoration company, that provides services after fires, floods and other events that call for major cleanups.
“No, seriously,” Huggins said. “They come in, do a whole cleanup of everything. They even clean up the air, change it out somehow. They’ll do the practice facility, the lounge, everywhere the players are.”
Those measures aren’t unheard of, especially in the case of health scares. Numerous athletic facilities, from the pro level down to scholastic, have undergone cleanings in response to MRSA, among others, over the past decade, and the current flu epidemic has sparked a huge run on cleaning supplies and services nationwide. With 53 pediatric deaths alone this flu season, and untold more where the virus has been a contributing factor, it’s a serious matter. Unfortunately, it’s not over yet, or even at its peak — thus the run for as many preventative services as possible.
This isn’t the only angle the Mountaineers are taking. The entire team is taking TamiFlu, under the direction of team physicians, an while that isn’t an impenetrable shield against the virus, it can help lessen the effects and length of time the symptoms are experienced.
“We talked to the team doctors and started on that,” head Coordinator of Athletic Training Services Randy Meador said. “It might have an effect in helping prevent the flu, although that’s not guaranteed. It is proven to help lessen the symptoms and the length of the illness.”
Meador and his staff have also been conducting their own cleaning campaign.
“We’ve wiped down and cleaned everything the players are around — even down to the basketballs,” he said. “Keeping them hydrated is also very important.”
The players themselves have also taken precautions.
“When we bring it in [to the huddle], no one puts their hands in,” center Logan Routt said, miming just a quick nod of the head as the participation routine. “Everybody’s been taking extra medicine, and just limiting [physical contact].”
Despite all of these measures, WVU has been substantially affected. Both Daxter Miles and Beetle Bolden have been hospitalized, as was Brandon Knapper, who is redshirting this season. Miles missed the trip to Iowa State, and Knapper was not present for Saturday’s win over Kansas State. Bolden, who like the rest of the team did next to no live practicing since the trip to Ames, was a late addition to Saturday’s availability list after telling head coach Bob Huggins he could play. Miles too, who was clearly still battling fatigue, also pushed through what has been an exhausting week to play a very good game against the Wildcats. Wesley Harris also has been clearly affected, and although he has been able to play in both of the most recent games, his stamina and ability to play for normal stretches has een shortened.
The hope from WVU’s camp is that while the peak of the traditional flu season still isn’t here, that the run, along with all of the preventative measures, will have them on an upward health arc as the Big 12 season heads into its final month.