Rams cancel practice due to swine flu

The St. Louis Rams canceled practice Thursday due to an

undisclosed number of swine flu cases on the team.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo would not say how many players had the

illness but said five or six players had flulike symptoms, and some

had had those symptoms for the last few weeks. He anticipated the

Rams would return to practice on Friday.

“It’s really more of a precaution than anything,” Spagnuolo

said. “We’re checking everybody, we’re just being careful.”

Players were seen driving away from Rams Park shortly before

noon after consulting with medical staff. Team spokesman Ted Crews

said players received medication before leaving.

“If there was one (player), we’d have to be careful,” Spagnuolo

said. “I think it was the right thing to do.”

Two players, quarterback Kyle Boller and center Jason Brown,

missed practice Wednesday due to undisclosed illnesses. Spagnuolo

said Brown was also ill on Monday, but had been expected to return

to practice Thursday before the team decided to send players


Spagnuolo said the Rams became aware of the situation about 8:30

or 9 a.m., then held a team meeting after deciding on a course of


“There was no panic here,” Spagnuolo said. “We took our


The Rams (1-12) host the Houston Texans (6-7) this Sunday.

In early October, Texans rookie tight end Anthony Hill was

hospitalized with swine flu in the first confirmed case in an NFL

player this season. Other players around the league were also

sidelined with flulike symptoms.

The nation’s supply of swine flu vaccine is expected to reach

100 million doses this week, clearing the way for everyone to be

protected, not just those considered at high risk. The 2009 H1N1

strain sickens younger people more frequently than the over-65

population who are seasonal flu’s main victims.

Through mid-November, about one in six Americans have caught the

new H1N1 flu, and about 10,000 have died, the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention said.

The new swine flu seems no more deadly than regular winter flu,

which every year kills 36,000 Americans and hospitalizes


Earlier this year, the NHL’s Calgary Flames were criticized when

players and their families received the swine flu vaccine while

thousands of other people waited in lines that stretched for hours.

Two Alberta Health Services employees were later fired.

British Columbia’s provincial health officer also said last

month that Vancouver Canucks also players jumped the line when they

received vaccinations.