Covid-19 Testing Protocol and Adjusting training facilities: a letter from NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills

As we continue to prepare for the season ahead, the league and NFLPA have jointly agreed to a number of health and safety protocols clubs are required to adhere to as players return to training camp.

These three videos provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the Rams training facility, Vikings training facility and Falcons training facility have made adjustments—from establishing physical distancing measures to leveraging wearable technology for contact tracing—in an effort to help keep players and staff safe this season. Our clubs are reimagining football, both following the joint protocols and implementing creative solutions of their own to help mitigate risk.

One of the key risk management strategies clubs are utilizing is a testing program to help identify and isolate infected individuals and help prevent the spread of the virus. Together with the NFLPA, we have chosen BioReference Laboratories (BRL), a reputable, national vendor to help us stand up the program. The tests they will perform are the most sensitive, reliable and accurate tests available with the shortest turnaround time for results.

Our testing model tests every player before allowing access to training camp, then tests every day for two weeks or until our positive cases are below 5% league-wide. Public health officials have given our testing program the green light and have confirmed that it will not impact test access for people who need them. We communicate regularly with the CDC, the White House Task Force, and laboratory and public health experts on this topic and have been given assurances that our program will not constrain testing resources.

While we will not release individual test results to protect the privacy of our players and personnel, we will regularly share aggregated, anonymized data regarding positive cases in an effort to help public health officials and the scientific community at-large gain insights from our testing program. Given that large-scale testing of a geographically diverse asymptomatic population has not yet been done, we expect that our testing program could provide broad insights about spread of the virus and how public health interventions help mitigate risk.

Testing alone is not going to be sufficient to keep players, coaches and essential personnel healthy. We continue to emphasize that it will be vitally important that everyone respect physical distancing, use masks, maintain overall good health and hygiene habits, report symptoms and limit contact with individuals who may be sick, not only at the team facility, but away from the team facility. We are working with the players and other personnel to educate them and their families to ensure that all of their questions about the virus are answered and that they make good decisions in their lives outside of the football environment.

All of these elements and our collective teamwork are going to be important to keep everyone as healthy as possible throughout the course of our season.

Take care of each other and stay safe,


Dr. Allen Sills

Chief Medical Officer

National Football League