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Big Ten Football to Resume with Plans to Study Hearts of Student-Athletes Infected with COVID-19

HeadlineSep 17, 2020

The United States reported nearly 1,000 new coronavirus fatalities on Wednesday, with the official U.S. death toll nearing 197,000 — by far the worst in the world. Nearly 40,000 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed over 24 hours, many of them driven by large outbreaks on college campuses.

On Wednesday, members of the Big Ten college athletics conference reversed course and said the fall football season will proceed this year — even as they acknowledged many players will contract COVID-19 as a result. President Trump celebrated the announcement, tweeting, “It is my great honor to have helped!!!”

Big Ten institutions said they would establish a cardiac registry for infected student-athletes, writing, “The registry and associated data will attempt to answer many of the unknowns regarding the cardiac manifestations in COVID-19 positive elite athletes.”

In response, sports law professor Alicia Jessop tweeted, “The U.S. has an ugly history when it comes to medical research and the Black community — from the Tuskegee Syphilis study to the use of Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells unknowingly by her. If the Big Ten did not receive INFORMED consent from players, it will add to this litany.”

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