Outbreak prompts Cardinals to move training camp


Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals are moving their training camp from Flagstaff because of a virus outbreak on the Northern Arizona University campus.



The team said late Monday afternoon no decision had been made on where the camp will be located. Players are scheduled to gather Sunday, with workouts beginning next Monday.



Team officials said they hoped to identify a new training site on Tuesday.



"The overwhelming concern obviously was the health and well-being of our team," said Rod Graves, vice president of football operations. "Despite what have been extraordinary efforts on the part of everyone at NAU to accommodate our team, in the end, even the slightest risk of exposure was something we cannot chance."



Last week, more than 100 people attending summer camps at the university contracted the highly contagious norovirus, an illness that is not life-threatening but causes flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.



It can be contracted through poor hand-washing. Health officials say the illness probably was passed among campers through contact with one another.



The university is sanitizing the area and has canceled all remaining youth camps.



The Cardinals have held their training camp at Northern Arizona, at an elevation of 7,200 feet, since the franchise moved to Arizona from St. Louis in 1988. The players stayed in dormitories, ate at a university dining hall and worked out on a practice field amid pine trees on the edge of campus.



"Naturally, we're deeply disappointed," university president John D. Haeger said in a statement released by the Cardinals. "The Cardinals visited with us extensively and explored a number of possibilities to make this work for the 2005 training camp. We certainly understand their concerns and respect their decision."



One potential site for the transplanted camp is Prescott, where the Cardinals worked out for a week last year and are scheduled to practice from Aug. 24-26.