Cardiologist may have just saved the 2020 college football season

Just days after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences canceled their fall 2020 football seasons, naming concerns over myocarditis as a primary reason, the Big 12 announced that its teams planned on playing games this year. One person in the center of that decision was Michael Ackerman, MD, PhD, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.

According to a report from, Ackerman spoke to Big 12 representatives at length about COVID-19, myocarditis and how playing games may impact the safety of college athletes. It was a conversation that, in the minds of many experts, saved the entire season from being put on hold until 2021. 

“In two weeks, [myocarditis] went from a secondary issue to the topic that created considerable concern among Big 12 university leaders after multiple recent national stories detailed the risks involved,” according to the report. “With the season hanging in the balance, myocarditis was poised to be the issue that pushed the Big 12 into the same fate as the Big Ten and Pac-12.”

Ackerman shared the potential risks of playing with the group, but also flat-out said college football should not be canceled due to this cardiac condition. And after the discussion, the Big 12 made its decision to play football in 2020. suggested that Ackerman may have very well saved college football from being completely canceled in 2020—all of this, the report pointed out, and he’s not even much of a fan.

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