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NCAA fan’s death prompts contact tracing in Indiana

The March Madness logo is shown on the court during the first half of a men's college...
The March Madness logo is shown on the court during the first half of a men's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 20, 2021. The Associated Press has learned that the NCAA has not tested players for performance-enhancing drugs while they’ve been at March Madness and other recent college championships. Three people familiar with testing protocols tell AP full-scale testing has not resumed since the coronavirus pandemic shut down college sports a year ago.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — 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 a well-known fan known 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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