NCAA fan’s dying from COVID-19 results in Marion County contact tracing as Ultimate 4 begins – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
INDIANAPOLIS (AP / WISH) – The Marion County Health Department is investigating whether someone from Alabama residents was exposed to COVID-19 after a Crimson Tide fan who was in Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament last weekend died Friday night.
Luke Ratliff, a 23-year-old student from Alabama, died after a brief illness, his father Bryan Ratliff told The Tuscaloosa News. The newspaper reported, citing multiple sources it failed to identify, that Ratliff had died from complications related to COVID-19. The Senior Ratliff could not be immediately reached for comment by The Associated Press on Saturday.
The health department said in a statement on Saturday, “Based on a recent news release, the Marion County Health Department and the Indiana Department of Health are contacting the Alabama Department of Health to determine if anyone in Indianapolis may have been exposed to COVID-19 from any resident of Alabama, who has been visiting Indianapolis in the past few days. We will conduct an investigation according to standard county and state contact tracing procedures. We continue to encourage residents and visitors to practice the simple and important habits that protect us all: wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing. “
The younger Ratliff was hospitalized shortly after returning to Tuscaloosa on March 29, the day after participating in Alabama’s game against UCLA at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. He was a well-known fan named Fluffopotamus, known to many in his plaid jacket that season, and the head of the Crimson Chaos Basketball Campus Support Group.
The University of Alabama, its athletics department, basketball team, and many coaches and players have recognized Ratliff on social media.
The men’s basketball team and the university’s sports director identified Ratliff’s Twitter account when they shared photos and condolences. In tweets on March 31, Ratliff shared ticket stubs and photos from three NCAA tournament games: March 20 at Hinkle Fieldhouse, March 22 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and March 28 at Hinkle Fieldhouse as the Crimson Tide against UCLA lost.
“We extend our condolences to Luke’s family and friends. He embodied the Crimson Tide spirit and will be remembered for his enthusiasm and love for this university. He was more than a super fan – he was a student and family member at the University of Alabama …
– The Univ. of Alabama (@UofAlabama) April 3, 2021
Devastating news. Doesn’t seem real. Fluff has been our biggest supporter since day one. Put everything he had into our program. Loved sharing this ride with him. You will be missed very much, my man! I wish we had another victory cigar and hug together. Roll Tide Forever. @ Fluffopotamus88 pic.twitter.com/1igys6NdHh
– Nate Oats (@nate_oats) April 3, 2021