NCAA fan’s death prompts contact-tracing investigation in Indiana

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The fan who reportedly died on Friday of complications related to COVID-19 attended the game on March 28 in Hinkle Fieldhouse between Alabama and UCLA. (Photo by Trevor Brown Jr/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Health officials in Indiana said Saturday they are investigating whether anyone was exposed to COVID-19 by Alabama residents following Friday night’s death of a Crimson Tide fan who was in Indianapolis for the NCAA Tournament last weekend.

Luke Ratliff, a 23-year-old Alabama student, died after a brief illness, his father, Bryan Ratliff, told The Tuscaloosa News.

The newspaper, citing multiple sources it did not identify, reported Ratliff died of complications related to COVID-19.

The elder Ratliff could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday by The Associated Press.

“Based on a recent news story, the Marion County Public Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health are contacting the Alabama Department of Public Health to determine if anyone in Indianapolis may have been exposed to COVID-19 by any Alabama resident who visited Indianapolis in recent days,” the county said in a statement provided by the NCAA. “We are conducting an investigation following the county and state’s standard contact tracing procedures.”

The younger Ratliff was hospitalized shortly after returning to Tuscaloosa on March 29, one day after attending Alabama’s game against UCLA at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the News reported.

He was known in Alabama as Fluffopotamus, familiar to many in his plaid jacket this season and the leader of the Crimson Chaos basketball campus support group.

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9 thoughts on “NCAA fan’s death prompts contact-tracing investigation in Indiana

  1. The only question I have and it goes for all situations; why wouldn’t anyone, if they are feeling poorly either quarantine themselves or tell someone. Its the height of carelessness to go about when this individual, who I am sure, due to his rapid death in a short time period, had to know he was sick.
    One thing they don’t seem to be doing and they do at every medical facility I have been to and that is a quick temperature check when entering a building where there will be multiple persons. Most sensitive buildings and offices are also going to the temperature test. It doesn’t take that much longer. A higher than normal temperature is almost always a sure sign of something wrong. Viruses, very quickly produce an immune response in the body and very quickly a rising temperature. This sort of thing just doesn’t have to happen.

    1. Thomas, stop trying to apply rational thinking to “journalism”. It’s perfectly normal with Covid to attend a basketball game and be deceased 1 week later. There were zero other factors involved. The correct thing is to run screaming into the night and talk about contact tracing. And for the Snowflakes, yes, regardless of the factors, a young death is tragic. The only thing more tragic is manipulating a death to fit a news agenda.