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Saban diagnosis a reminder to stay vigilant

We’re not sure anything in the state of Alabama can make people stop in their tracks faster than news about the Crimson Tide football program.

With no offense to Auburn, who obviously has a great program in its own right, at times it feels as if this entire state revolves around the gigantic university in the heart of Tuscaloosa. So, when everyone got the breaking news alert on their phone Wednesday, the one where Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19, it felt as if there was a collective gasp.

The coach said Wednesday night that he’s had no symptoms and that he’s feeling fine, but obviously at age 68 there’s concern about his health and wellbeing as we move forward.

Saban has taken on this larger than life persona where nothing — even old age or sickness — is able to impact him. A few years ago, he had hip surgery, and SEC Shorts — a viral social media series poking fun at the SEC — made a video based around Saban ditching a walker right after the surgery.

It was fitting for a man that many have propped up to be invincible at times, both from sickness and bad football.

There’s also a game this weekend in Tuscaloosa that the entire college football world has had circled on its calendar for months. Assuming COVID-19 doesn’t change those plans, Georgia comes to town Saturday night for a huge game. Hopefully, neither program will see an increase in COVID-19 positives and the game can continue safely.

Two other SEC games originally scheduled for this weekend — LSU at Florida and Vanderbilt at Missouri — have already been rescheduled due to COVID-19 concerns. Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday that he’s running out of players due to positive COVID-19 tests, but he said the Rebels are currently able to play Arkansas this weekend.

This is what we were all worried about when the season began — that COVID-19 would eventually throw a wrench in the season.

But most importantly, Saban’s health and the health of all the players infected remains at the forefront. Like with the president’s diagnosis, these cases serve as a reminder that this virus is still very real and spreading.

The chart of new cases in Alabama looks like a roller coaster, moving back and forth from under 600 to more than 1,000, just depending on the day you’re looking. Health experts are concerned with the increases being seen nationally right now, especially with cold weather season about to hit.

Faith, family and football are the foundation of many things in the South, and some wouldn’t even put them in that order.

Saban’s diagnosis is a reminder to stay vigilant, continue wearing your mask and do your part to stop the spread.