The Stormers have put measures in place to tackle the coronavirus that has halted the Super Rugby season.
Team doctor Jason Suter and coach John Dobson addressed reporters at the Stormers’ High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bellville on Tuesday where they shed more light on how they’re dealing with the crisis.
Organisers have suspended play for the “foreseeable future” but the Stormers are doing their best to keep the players rugby fit.
Suter said the HPC was the safest place for the players to maintain their fitness levels.
“We’ve been provided with stringent guidelines around social distancing. However, you’ve got to look at it in the sense that the HPC is a safer environment than what the players may experience in the outside world,” the doctor said.
He added that the players would only be allowed to gym at the HPC.
“We’ve banned individual gym work and training at Virgin Active and so on, because you have an unknown population, a fluid population, in that environment. You’ve got no control over social distancing.
“We have changed the way we do things here in terms of our gym and hygiene guidelines to be cognisant of the fact that we are dealing with something that’s potentially contagious. Keeping the guys at the HPC also allows us to self-monitor.”
Dobson added: “These guys have to stay conditioned for when the call to action comes. We can control the hygiene in this environment. There’s no team training or meetings at the moment, but the guys can do individual work.
“We’ll gym in small pods. We won’t have the whole squad in there at a stretch. The guys will go on to the field almost individually. They can catch high balls or do defensive tracking, with a coach standing a few metres away. They will still be working.”
The team doctor added that players, coaches and administrative staff have already been subjected to daily tests on-site.
Suter explained that governing body Sanzaar’s guidelines dictate a daily temperature check and if it was below 38 degrees – and the individual displays no other symptoms – it would be regarded as normal.
“If they’ve got a snotty nose, a temperature and some symptoms, and if we’re not sure whether it’s a cough, cold, flu or Covid-19, they will be regarded as positive until proven otherwise.
“We have set aside an isolation room. The individual will be given a mask and we will take appropriate precautions as the medical staff. I will then take the required swabs. Then we will send them home to self-isolate. These are protocols that are being followed by the World Health Organisation,” Suter stressed.
He added that players who feel that they may have symptoms will be asked to stay home and also confirmed there were no positive cases in the squad by Tuesday.