On Sunday, NFL athletes got the hashtag #WeWantToPlay trending on social media. They also emphasized that although they want to play, they hope to be able to do so while prioritizing their health. Players reiterated that they do not want to put themselves or their own families at risk in order to achieve that goal.
On Monday afternoon, the NFL and Players Association reached a decision on their COVID-19 testing protocols. The agreement concluded that players and all staff who interact with the athletes will be tested on a daily basis for the first two weeks of training camp. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, confirmed the latter in a statement.
If the positivity rate of COVID-19 numbers is low or continues to drop, testing frequency guidelines will be altered. If positive tests fall below 5%, the league will reduce testing to every other day. Daily testing will continue if the positivity rate climbs back up or is more than 5%.
Other Protocols to Ensure Safety of Players and Staff
Before participating in team activities, NFL athletes will have to test negative more than once. Dr. Sills emphasized the league’s focus on minimizing virus transmission and monitoring the risk for athletes and staff. He claims they are aware they can not fully eliminate risk unless they decide not to play, and this is not an option right now.
Medical staff, strength and conditioning staff, and equipment staff will also be required to follow these safety protocols. Those who do not work on a regular basis with the team and their staff will not be subject to these protocols as they do not have contact with the players or their environment. Sills assured the public and league that although this season will not be normal, by following the safety protocols, it can be played out.
COVID-19 Is Not Slowing Down, as of Now
For the fifth day in a row, Florida has logged over 10,000 coronavirus cases. After seeing a spike in several states earlier this month, COVID-19 has proved to be a harder beast to defeat than expected.
Many Americans still choose not to wear masks in attempts to live “freely” and independently. But, this is a time for empathy and consideration, even for the individual themself.
Professional sports leagues have found it difficult to navigate the growing crisis as circumstances continue to change as months go on. It is clear that athletes want to play, and fans want sports to come back. But, it all comes down to what is in the best interest of all involved.