Story at a glance
- Football may be one of the first professional sports to come back in the United States following the coronavirus pandemic.
- The NFL is developing plans for facilities to reopen after being closed in late March.
- A new report suggests the league is preparing for players, coaches or even staff members to contract COVID-19 during the season.
How do you play football while practicing social distancing? Well, you don’t – and the NFL knows that starting play this fall means risking the health of players and staff.
“We fully well expect that we will have positive cases that arise because we think that this disease will remain endemic in society. And so it shouldn’t be a surprise if new positive cases arise,” Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said during a conference call with reporters, according to the Washington Post. “Our challenge is to identify them as quickly as possible and to prevent spread to any other participants. So we’re working very diligently on that, and we’ll have some detailed plans to share about that at a later time.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW
While the first games of the season are tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13, the league has not firmly committed to any dates for training or other activities. Responding to concerns over the allocation of tests to NFL players and staff as supply remains scarce, ESPN reported that Sills committed to ensuring the league’s testing would not take tests away from the general population.
"We feel there are certain important steps that need to occur, with regard to testing, with regard to test availability, with regard to test reliability, and also our continued evolution of understanding of how to manage exposures. All of those things are continuing to evolve. When we and the players' association feel that we are at a point of satisfaction with that science, then we'll be ready to move forward,” Sills said during the call, according to ESPN.
The NFL has laid out guidelines for reopening team facilities after league commissioner Roger Goodell ordered them closed in late March. While it’s still unclear what nationwide policies will be in the fall, networks are preparing for the games to be played without fans, and annual plans for international play have been cancelled.
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC