RALEIGH, N.C. (WNNC) – The N.C. State football team has yet to kick off its 2021 campaign and already the Wolfpack is off to a winning start.
At his weekly press conference on Monday, N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren had an interesting stat to share.
“We are above 90 percent, close to 100 percent,” bragged Doeren on the number of his players who have gotten vaccinated.
Doeren said getting to this point has been a process and that he and his staff have worked to educate, not push, the vaccine on his players.
“I’m not going to hold a grudge or be upset with anybody,” Doeren said on whether or not a player decides to get the shot or not. “But at the end of the day we all saw what this did to our country last year and I think we’re all in a different place now knowing there is protection.”
In the ACC, any unvaccinated player on a team like N.C. State that has reached an 85 percent vaccination rate is required to be tested at least once a week. Players on teams below the 85 percent rate are to be tested three times a week.
“It’s a lot different waking up every day and looking at my cell phone and seeing who has a runny nose and these 20 players can’t come to the building because of it,” said Doeren on what a difference a year makes.
“We don’t have that anymore. If you have symptoms, you’re removed until you have a negative test and it’s just one person. It’s a lot different than last year.”
Doeren said the strides his program has made to get players vaccinated can also provide a competitive advantage.
“I feel like there’s a huge competitive advantage,” Doeren stressed. “You could lose a lot of workforce last year because of one person not feeling well.”
That’s why Doeren and his staff have worked so hard this year to prevent a situation like that.
“Like I told the guys at some point you’re going to have to make a choice,” Doeren explained about how he talked to his players on the pros and cons of getting vaccinated. “You may not like your choices but you’re going to have a choice.”
For N.C. State as a team that choice, for the most part, has been to get vaccinated.