Symptom Screenings and Surveillance Testing for COVID-19 in University Athletes


  • Michelle Boyd Truman State University
  • Joseph Visker MN State University-Mankato
  • Carol Cox



COVID-19, Surveillance testing, Health screening, Healthcare, University


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic presented prevention, screening, and mitigation challenges for public and primary healthcare, including university athletics. During 2020-21, student-athletes at a medium-sized university were required to undergo a COVID-19 screening program [symptom screening/surveillance testing] as a condition of athletic participation.To determine the effectiveness of the screening program in identifying athletes in this population with a COVID-19 diagnosi, prior to every athletic encounter, all 334 student-athlete participants reported any COVID-19 symptoms to the athletic training staff, body temperature was measured, and participants from three teams were randomly selected for an additional anosmia screening. All participants were subject to COVID-19 surveillance testing. For each participant, results of each element of the screening and testing processes were recorded in their electronic medical record and cross-referenced with any positive COVID-19 medical diagnosis. From 2025 surveillance tests conducted, only 32 participants tested positive. Of those, 25 (78%) experienced and reported COVID-19 symptoms to the athletic trainer immediately before testing. Only
seven (.035%) were captured as pre-symptomatic positive tests. One hundred ten athletes who experienced symptoms, however, did not participate in an athletic encounter that day but instead self-admitted to the university health center for testing. All 110 tested positive at the health center. Experiencing and reporting COVID-19 symptoms appeared effective, and COVID-19 surveillance testing appeared ineffective, as detection measures in this study. Due to the extensive and costly resources needed, the decision to continue to implement these processes in the future will be difficult.



How to Cite

Boyd, M., Visker, J., & Cox, C. (2023). Symptom Screenings and Surveillance Testing for COVID-19 in University Athletes . American Journal of Health Studies, 38(1).

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