It’s been nearly three weeks since 75 Penn State football student-athletes returned to campus as part of the university’s phased return to voluntary offseason activities and workouts.
Since then, the team has trained and worked out in small groups while trying to maintain social distancing guidelines and follow precautions. With high stakes and mounting pressure, kicker Jake Pinegar understands every player on the team must remain accountable while fighting the pandemic.
“From the coaches down, everyone has emphasized the importance of washing your hands all the time, staying clean, disinfecting everything, staying apart, social distancing, and all that,” Pinegar said. “That starts with the coaches and it trickles down to the players.”
Across the country, there have been programs including Clemson and LSU have had players test positive for the virus. Because of this, there’s reason for concern when it comes to the Nittany Lions’ return to campus. Fortunately, Pinegar believes the team has yet to be affected thanks to an all-around effort by the program.
“I think that has to do with the coaches, with the medical staff, with our training staff, and players just buying in and being smart about it,” Pinegar explained.
The Iowa native explained Penn State has taken the necessary steps and precautions so where there is “almost zero risk” of getting the coronavirus. He believes that’s a major reason why no Nittany Lions have tested positive for the virus yet.
“Any time we are out, it’s the masks, it’s disinfecting our room, changing our sheets, washing our clothes,” Pinegar said. “All those sort of things regularly and routinely. Not going out into big groups. A pretty obvious thing not to do is to go out in public and be in large groups and things like that, especially without wearing a mask or taking precautions, staying apart from people.”
Pinegar added “doing the obvious” is preached to him and his teammates. They’re being told to stay away from situations that would put themselves or your teammates at risk.
He believes it will take an all-around effort in order to move forward with the 2020 college football season. Above all else, the ultimate goal is to play football this fall. However, players need to stay healthy and do their part first.
“In order for us to have a season, everyone has to do their role. They got to watch out, they got to be more careful,” Pinegar explained. “Everybody wants to have a season, so the importance of that is preached heavily and it is a huge emphasis on what we got going on right now.”
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