SPORTS MEDICINE: Current chaos in keeping with 2020 | John Doherty

It is bad enough that the stands are empty. At this rate, the NFL’s rosters will soon be empty of stars.

While soft tissue injuries seem to be out of control among the pros, at least the NFL has a handle on COVID-19. Just ask the five head coaches fined $100,000 by the league for not wearing masks during their games. Pete Carroll (Seahawks), Vic Fangio (Broncos), Jon Gruden (Raiders), Sean Payton (Saints), and Kyle Shanahan (49ers) all have lighter wallets.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame has a lighter schedule — at least for now, thanks to the postponement of Saturday’s game with Wake Forest, the result of 23 players being unavailable, infected with COVID-19 or quarantined thanks to contact tracing.

The Irish are not alone at the college level. As the Big Ten and Mid-American Conference attempt to start an abbreviated season (with no bye weeks built in to accommodate COVID-related postponements), both would do well to consider the University of Houston’s fortunes — or lack thereof. The Cougars have had five different opponents scheduled over the last four weeks but have yet to play a single one, each opting out for COVID-related reasons. They’ll try again on Oct. 8, this time with Tulane.

Not satisfied with the bad luck of one team? Consider then the ACC. Besides the Notre Dame/Wake Forest game being put off, contests involving North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Virginia Tech have already been postponed or canceled. In all, 22 FBS-level games have fallen victim to COVID-19 since the start of the season.

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