GAINESVILLE, Fla. – When I arrived for my mandatory COVID-19 test on Tuesday morning in the area underneath the south end zone at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, the only oddity I noticed was the absence of Paul Silvestri, the UF football team’s head athletic trainer.
Normally, Silvestri is holding a clipboard and positioned at the entrance of a tent filled with medical personnel dressed in full personal-protection equipment. He checks you in and then calls your name so the medical staff can grab your test kit, confirm your identity, and then administer the nasal-swabbing test. If no one is in line when you arrive during your test window, the entire process can take less than a couple of minutes and you’re on your way.
The procedure is the same for Gators head coach Dan Mullen, UF players, the equipment staff and dozens of others in the University Athletic Association whose jobs involve being around the football program. Silvestri and fellow athletic trainer Spencer Thomas are known primarily to Gators fans as the first people on the field when a player is injured. You may have noticed how quickly they raced to Gators safety Brad Stewart Jr. in Saturday’s game at Texas A&M