Training camp is set to open next week, and players were concerned about the safety measures put in place to protect them. They even took to Twitter to organize a little online campaign aimed at getting the NFL and NFLPA to listen to health experts, and it looks like they’ve finally reached an agreement.
On the testing aspect, Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said the agreement between the union would aim at testing players for the first two weeks of training camp. If the positive test rate is below 5%, the league will scale back to testing every single day, but if it is not below that 5%, they will continue with daily testing until it falls below that number.
“This is ongoing work, there’s no finish line with health and safety, and I think these protocols are living, breathing documents which means they will change as we get new information. They will undoubtedly be changing over time, which is what we usually see in medicine,” Sills said.
Players are expected to show up on day one, get tested, return to their homes then show up again the next day, take a test, and if both of the tests come back negative, they’re cleared to get back to work, in short, players are expected to test negative twice before allowed to join the teams.
Sills said the league wants to take a slow approach to things since players, coaches, and staff will be coming from all walks of life. The league is also expecting results to come back within 24 hours since they’re now working with ‘BioReference’ Laboratories to handle its tests but not in a way that will pressurize their market.
“Any decision that we make, whether it’s around testing or screening or treatment or games, we want to make sure that we are in no way having a negative impact on the public health situation,” Sills said.
“And we discussed to length with our testing vendor to make sure we’re not having a negative impact on their business,” he added.
The league and union are reported to remain in negotiations between matters such as several preseason games to play, details of the acclimation period players will have, and issues surrounding opt-out procedures for players who do not want to play either because of the coronavirus scare or personal reasons. It looks like the league is still getting started on organizing everything.
The players asked the league to cancel preseason games this year, but they canceled only two. The players also wanted a training camp acclimation period that would limit the first 21 days to strength and conditioning work only and another 10 days to non-padded practice, but the union refused again.
Sills said that how things will end up depends solely on the agreement between both sides of the union, which he believes is going to take some time.
On Sunday, Sills said he and the leagues Infectious Disease experts have reviewed all 32 teams’ detailed IDER plans.
“I have approved all of those, and I’m very proud of the effort the clubs have put into those plans. They are incredibly detailed, and you can tell that our clubs have put many, many hours into these decisions.”
Sills wants people to know that testing alone cannot prevent these players, staff, and coaches from getting infected with the virus but a complete change in attitude. They must protect themselves outside, and inside the facility, that way, the risk of the spread of the virus can be reduced. People must conduct themselves, especially outside the facility, he emphasized.
“While everyone shares risk in this environment, everybody’s going to have to share responsibility, both when they’re at the team facility and when they’re away from the team facility, to make decisions and model those behaviors that are related to risk mitigation,”
Football will come back, and it depends on the decisions taken by the league and it’s players association, taking into consideration that we are in difficult times; fans must have patience and hope for the best.
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