Harrison High School has some sick football players, but the situation is not as bad as rumors have made it out to be.
David Hines, coach of the Hoyas, told the AJC on Wednesday afternoon that 17-15 players, including four starters, missed the first two days of this week’s practice because of flu-like symptoms.
However, Hines said that he had not considered cancelling any practices or asking for a postponement for Friday’s game at rival McEachern, which is ranked No. 7 in Class AAAAA. He expects at least two starters to return to practice on Thursday, and possibly all four by Friday.
“We’ve had our fair share of kids sick this week … the school sent home 70 on Monday,” Hines said. “[With the football players], I can’t guarantee you that all of them are the flu .. some might be sinus infections or other viruses.”
The McEachern-Harrison series is the biggest rivalry in west Cobb County, and McEachern’s undefeated 7-0 record has added to the intensity. McEachern coach Kyle Hockman said he has been hearing all the Harrison rumors.
“Yeah, we have some little birdies telling us things,” Hockman said. “The students at both schools having been going back and forth about this game, [therefore] I’m not surprised to hear it’s not as bad as some had been saying.”
Hines also added that he and one of his assistants went to prompt care last weekend and were both initially diagnosed with the flu. However, both went to their regular doctors on Monday and a battery of tests changed the diagnosis to bronchitis.
The school is taking all usual precautions, such as spraying down the fieldhouse and lockers, along with reminding players to wash hands.
“We taking everything very seriously, but I don’t know whether or not you’d say it’s a massive outbreak of flu,” Hines said. “If you get a lot of people together in a common area and one person is sick, then it’s very easily transferrable because the bacteria is airborne.
“We’ve been doing all we can do, but it’s probably more in God’s hands right now. We’ve been performing all the preventive measures … now it’s a matter of [the flu] running its course. If we don’t have this or that player on Friday, then we’ll have another one ready to go in his place.”