TUCSON, Arizona — When it comes to COVID-19 and sports, nothing in 2020 has been easy. And when it comes to protocols at UArizona Athletics, the University turns to Dr. Stephen Paul, the school’s Director of Athletic Medicine.
A longtime soccer fan, Dr. Paul been a UArizona campus health employee for more than 25 years, and he helped start the Institute for Sports Medicine at Banner UMC. It was Dr. Paul who recommended a two week athletic facility shutdown, in June, out of an abundance of caution.
“That was really hard,” he reflected.
And it was Dr. Paul who determined that the numerous COVID-19 positive cases on the women’s soccer team were false positives.
"So, it just seemed out of sequence. And, with everyone I talked to, there was no common pattern, so it was determined that it was a lab robot error."
Dr. Paul is proud of his claim that there hasn’t been one transmission of COVID-19 between student-athletes during practice.
"It’s all due to off campus. It’s all due to socialization or looming situations, things like that.”
With his experience and increased notoriety, Dr. Paul has earned the nickname, "Arizona’s Dr. Fauci."
"I guess it’s a compliment," he chuckled. "It’s a scary compliment. I wish I was as smart as he is."
The challenge now is that athletic competition begins next week with the football team playing at Utah. Increased testing is in place from the medical diagnostics company, Quidel. But, there’s only so much Dr. Paul can control.
"If you can keep the risk low in the community, the risk to the teams can be low, and I think it’s pretty comfortable going forward."