Shannon Singletary, Ole Miss' senior associate athletic director for sports medicine, says more than a dozen Rebels football players are sick with flu symptoms, including fevers as high as 103 degrees. Tests to confirm the presence of swine flu take two weeks to complete, but officials aren't taking any chances.
"From what we understand the standard protocol across the country is to treat all the symptoms as if they are swine flu," Singletary said.
Other sports and the student body in general have been hit hard over the last three weeks. Ole Miss spokeswoman Barbara Lago says 368 students have reported flu-like symptoms to campus health services staff and a system that reports absences to faculty has reported twice as many students missing class over the last two weeks than is usual for a full month during the regular fall flu season.
Washington State University has also been dealing with a flu outbreak that is suspected to be swine flu. Before its opening game last week against Stanford, Washington State reported 13 players with flu-like symptoms.
Officials at Mississippi are following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and ill players are being isolated for 24 to 48 hours even after their symptoms clear up. A vaccine for the swine flu, also called H1N1, will not be available until next month.
"As best as possible we're putting them by themselves," Singletary said. "If they're in a dorm room we're trying to make arrangements where their teammates are living with other people. We're doing everything we can to get them by themselves for 24 to 48 hours at least."
That didn't stop Snead from catching the illness. His roommate, Clayton Moore, also had the flu.
Ole Miss players in all sports started falling ill around the start of classes with the baseball team seeming to take the brunt of it. It started to hit the football team hard last week. Some players, like Moore, were left home from Sunday's trip to Memphis. Others played sick with some vomiting on the sidelines and others took intravenous fluids at halftime.
As many as a dozen players were expected to miss Monday's practice. That number grew to as many as 16 sick by Tuesday, Singletary said.
Players reporting symptoms are seen by a doctor and are put on a regimen of rest with plenty of fluids and pain relievers.
The flu's impact could have been much harder on the football team. The No. 6 Rebels have the week off before playing Football Championship Subdivision opponent Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 19.
"It is a spreading deal, you know how that goes," coach Houston Nutt said. "Hopefully we get this thing done this week. Good timing really."