When Nebraska basketball coach Fred Hoiberg fell ill in the middle of his team’s Big Ten tournament game against Indiana, March Madness took on a different meaning. As the broadcast talked about how Hoiberg had felt ill before the game and as video of the coach showed him doubled over and clearly struggling, Nebraska fans began to wonder if the coronavirus had infected the Cornhuskers.
Shortly before the game ended, Hoiberg left the arena and it was later reported he was rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, as the Lincoln Journal Star reports, his players were quarantined in their locker room after the contest. At one point, the entire arena was cleared, including those who were cleaning up in the stands. All of this was due to worries that Hoiberg had come down with coronavirus, knew he felt bad, and continued to coach anyway.
It turns out the Nebraska head coach just had the “regular” Influenza A. That means that, while he certainly felt terrible, he wasn’t headed into a two-week quarantine. On Thursday morning, Hoiberg took to Twitter to explain himself and the situation directly to the public.
“Please let it be known I would never do anything that would put my team, family or anyone else in harm’s way,” he began.
— Fred Hoiberg (@CoachHoiberg) March 12, 2020
The rest of the tweet explains that he knew before the Huskers’ game tipped off that he didn’t have coronavirus. He said had he thought there was a chance he had the disease, he wouldn’t have coached the game.
The coach also expressed his understanding of the current state of the country, saying it is “a scary time” at the moment. The reaction from fans, the media, and event staff to Hoiberg’s illness shows there is certainly heightened concern whenever someone shows flu-like symptoms.
It didn’t help his case that he came down with influenza on the same night Tom Hanks revealed to the world that he and his wife Rita Wilson have been officially diagnosed with coronavirus. As The Inquisitr earlier reported, the NBA also postponed the rest of its season because one of its players also tested positive for the disease.
Also yesterday, the NCAA announced it would be holding its usual 68-team postseason tournament, but would not be allowing fans in the stands to watch the games. Some MLB teams are also concerned their home openers will either be moved or canceled altogether due to limitations placed on public gatherings by city and state officials.
With all that as a backdrop, it’s easy to understand why people assumed the worst when Hoiberg showed signs of illness on Nebraska’s bench.