Per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, it won’t be just players getting tested for COVID-19 when training camp rolls around. Their families will be tested, as well.
“Right now, the NFL and NFLPA, though, still finalizing their testing protocols,” Pelissero said on NFL NOW earlier in the week. “What I can tell you is that under the current protocol, there would be an initial intake screening that would consist of two different tests: one for the virus, that would be a nasal swab, as well as one for antibodies, which would consist of a finger prick.
“Now, in addition to testing the players, I am told that the plan would be to also test players’ family members and anyone else who they are cohabitating with, give them an initial test as well. Everyone is confident that they’ll be able to get those results back within 24 hours. Now it’s important to understand, this is not a bubble that the NFL is doing here but it is an ecosystem; that is something that Dr. Thom Mayer from the union and Dr. Allen Sills from the NFL emphasized to players in a conference call on Friday, which is that testing alone is not a magic bullet, it’s also about wearing masks, social distancing, your behavior even when you are away from the facility. The league and union are also collaborating and finalizing educational videos that players will be shown during camp.”
Consistent testing obviously is and will be absolutely crucial to the 2020 season, so it makes sense that the NFL is covering all basis before camp begins. If waters are rough during camp, then pessimism toward the season starting on time will only continue to grow and grow and grow. And that’s the best-case scenario. Worst-case scenario is that the NFL hits a snag like the MLB and can’t get the test results back quick enough.
Fortunately, the NFL still has three weeks to figure everything out, but the window is closing.