NFL Imposes Stricter Training Protocols vs COVID-19
The threat of COVID-19 still looms. Recently, several players and staff from the NFL’s Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys tested positive. The unfortunate news forced the league to refine its COVID-19 protocols and testing guidelines again.
Earlier this month, the league allowed the reopening of team facilities for individual training. Despite following strict guidelines and protocols for return to play, it was reported that Cowboy star RB Ezekiel Elliott and several other Houston Texans’ members caught the virus. Both organizations confirmed that none of the members who tested positive went to training facilities with other people.
The results prove that it’s getting more and more challenging for the NFL to identify infected players and employees as quickly as possible. So, for the league, updating the guidelines and protocols can solve the problem.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills admitted last month that they expect to have positive coronavirus cases as they progress with return-to-play plans. When the first wave of results was released this week, Sills immediately made a conference call to announce the change of plans.
The stricter guidelines garnered mixed responses. Last Wednesday, the league reached out to teams and members complaining about the guidelines and requirements for training and official games.
One of the key figures complaining was Ravens coach John Harbaugh. In his complaints, Harbaugh said that the guidelines are ‘humanly impossible’ to meet as players still need to interact with each other.
“We’re going to do everything we can do. We’re going to space, we’re going to have masks. But, you know, it’s a communication sport. We have to be able to communicate with each other in person. We have to practice,” Harbaugh insisted.
Sills and the NFL didn’t budge, though. The NFL will push through with its ironclad protocols for the days to come, and Sills will continue to develop new COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all staff and players.
NFL teams and players can still voice out their opinions and feedback to improve the final guidelines, but Sillas warned everyone that “ [The protocols] won’t feel normal because it won’t be normal”.