NFL outlines initial COVID-19 protocol for training camps, preseason

NFL outlines initial COVID-19 protocol for training camps, preseason

The NFL has laid out protocol for some of the testing and treatment procedures of the coronavirus. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent teams a one-page memo and 40-page protocol document to explain the details of the program, which was developed in partnership with the NFL Players Association. USA TODAY Sports obtained a copy of the memo.

The league and players association still are working to finalize the details of the screening system, game-day testing and response to potential outbreaks within a team facility, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the state of the talks.

According to the protocol, any player or team employee who experiences symptoms of coronavirus is obligated to report to the team’s medical staff as soon as possible, and the team must alert the league of any confirmed or suspected cases to the NFL, who will then relay the information to the NFLPA.

Anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more is banned from entering the team facility and must isolate and contact the team's Infection Control Officer or other medical personnel for testing, consultation and direction.

Members of the organization who experience symptoms for the first time while inside the facility must immediately be placed in a separate room until they can be promptly transported home and quarantined.

Teams must perform contact tracing if any player or employee displays symptoms or tests positive, and anyone found to have been in close contact with that individual must be tested as well.

The protocol allows anyone who tests negative for coronavirus after close contact but remains asymptomatic to return to the facility, though that individual must be tested daily for eight consecutive days. Anyone who tests positive but doesn't experience symptoms must stay away from the team facility for 10 days, unless they test negative twice five days after the positive test. If a person with a positive test does exhibit symptoms, they must be banned from the team facility for at least 10 days and can't return until at least 72 hours after their last symptoms occurred. Team medical personnel must approve their return.

Teams are expected to kick off training camp on July 28. The first two days of training camp will be dedicated to medical examinations and fitting players for equipment.

The protocol also lays out instructions on building access and personnel groupings in three different tiers. Also included are educational measures, hygiene, workout and weight room and meeting arrangements and safety requirements during travel. Players, coaches and other staffers must wear masks while inside the facility. Weight room equipment must be moved to either a well-ventilated area of the facility or outside. Meetings must take place either virtually or outside.

According to the memo, the NFL and NFLPA agreed that there will not be a mandatory quarantine period during training camp, and teams cannot require players to remain at club hotels during camp.

Each team is required to submit an Infectious Disease Emergency Response (“IDER”) Plan prior to opening club facilities for training camp. Further instruction from the league on how to respond to those emergencies is expected in the coming days.


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