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Flu Precautions and Your Team

Tennis star Tommy Haas has become the latest professional athlete to be diagnosed with the swine flu.

Haas, 31, ranked 17th in the world, pulled out of a tournament in Stockholm last week after becoming ill. He first thought it was normal flu but then had himself tested.

Haas’ case brings special notice because with the approach of winter, more sports will be moving indoors, especially in northern climes. Any activity at close quarters — huddles, plane and bus rides, practice, locker rooms, team meals — carries the potential to spread the virus.

As if to underscore the point, a brawl just broke out on the New York City subway train when someone refused to cover her mouth while coughing.

Coaches must be on the lookout for flu symptoms, and have a strategy for dealing with cases. Here is what the Texas Rangers baseball team did last summer when pitcher Vicente Padilla came down with the virus.

The team held a meeting advising everyone to take necessary hygiene precautions, and the Rangers’ flight to Kansas City was delayed to provide additional recovery time. Cultures have been sent away to determine if any other players have swine flu.

The Rangers separated Padilla from the team to avoid exposing others to the flu. They encouraged him to go back to the hotel and not sit in the dugout.

Coaches may with to familiarize themselves with these flu precautions and to share the information with athletes and parents.


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