When you’re a coach like Kentucky’s John Calipari , who’s made a career out of recruiting and developing NBA stars, contractions can be a major distraction. You can’t take them lightly and you can’t be caught off guard. One day last year, Calipari was in Atlanta for a recruiting trip and he got a call from a doctor.
In a recent podcast with WBAY-TV sports anchor Josh Newkirk , John Calipari revealed that he had contracted a virus after being vaccinated for chickenpox as a child. He said he had a mild case of the illness and two days later was fine, but still has not been able to get rid of the virus.
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY — Coach John Calipari of Kentucky men’s basketball claimed he acquired COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, but that he is pleased that the injection performed its job and left him with very minor symptoms.
Vaccinated athletes and coaches have tested positive in other significant breakthrough instances in college football. Georgia and Mississippi, both rated second, may be missing many players in their next game, while Rebels coach Lane Kiffin missed his team’s opening after testing positive for marijuana.
Calipari disclosed Tuesday that he tested positive for marijuana before the NBA draft in July, preventing him from attending the celebrations to witness his highly regarded players fulfill their goals of being first-round picks. His statement comes after Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said on Monday that “three or four” players on the second-ranked Bulldogs were suffering with COVID-19.
After announcing his own breakthrough case on Saturday, Kiffin did not go with the Rebels to Atlanta for Monday night’s 43-24 win against Louisville.
In a message published on Twitter, Kiffin stated, “I am glad to be vaccinated and having very minor symptoms.”
Calipari was in the same boat.
During the virtual press conference, the coach joked that he “broke the line” to be vaccinated, adding that he didn’t disclose his positive test at the time to prevent the public from getting vaccinated. He doesn’t regret missing the event since it prevented players, workers, and others from being infected with the coronavirus.
He believes that by going public with his minor symptoms now, more people will get vaccinated.
“I just want people to think about it,” Calipari, who had cut himself off from his family, added. “It’s youngsters returning to school who haven’t been vaccinated who may spread it to you or your family.” It’s possible. And if you’ve been vaccinated, the odds of anything catastrophic occurring are low to none.
“It’s your greatest chance of defending yourself, your family, your parents, or anybody else. There have been some advances, but they aren’t that serious.”
Despite meeting the Southeastern Conference’s 85 percent immunization standard to avoid additional COVID testing and masking procedures, Georgia and Ole Miss both tested positive. Kiffin, his players, and his staff at Ole Miss are all properly immunized.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has a similar vaccination requirement of 85 percent, which means schools who reach it only have to test once weekly instead of three times. Other schools, as well as state and municipal regulations, must still be adhered to.
After last fall’s procedures, which kept attendance at many football-crazed stadiums far below capacity, the rules for fans are less stringent this season. No. 13 Florida defeated FAU 35-14 in front of an official crowd of 86,840 on Saturday night, with just a few mask-wearing fans seen throughout enormous Florida Field.
Georgia’s 10-3 victory against then-No. 3 Florida Clemson was played without sports medical director Ron Courson, who tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to attend due to his illness. Courson is doing well, according to Smart, but he also said that many staff members, as well as players, have been out lately.
Even if a vaccination is in place, as opposed to last autumn, and other precautions are in place, there are still dangers and concerns.
“That worries you not just for the unvaccinated guys on your squad who are participating and not playing because we want everyone to be safe,” the coach said.
“But it worries me about the guys who have been immunized. It’s possible that we’ll lose them. Right now, it’s at its highest point since autumn camp. I believe there is a sense of relief that everything has returned to normal. It’s just not the appropriate time for us right now.”