When the NFL opens training camps later this month, testing for COVID-19 will be a vital, ongoing process.
Along with the training camp and preseason protocol sent to clubs late last week, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported on NFL NOW Monday that the league plans to not only test players at the start of training camp, but also family members and others they will be living with.
"Right now, the NFL and NFLPA, though, still finalizing their testing protocols," Pelissero said. "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."
The ability to test players consistently at the start of training camp and throughout the season will be significant. Major League Baseball's plan to re-open their season has hit a snag to open this week, with some teams unable to get test results fast enough. The speed of learning results as we press forward will play a big role in how the NFL is able to safely and securely open the season.
The NFL plans to begin training camps for veterans in three weeks, with most vets currently slated to report on July 28.