The NFLPA’s Medical Director was on Adam Schefter’s podcast Monday. He is optimistic about the 2020 NFL season being played.
So far the National Football League hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus as much as other sports leagues. The NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, and PGA tour are all shut down while football is in its offseason. Sure the draft has been modified, scouting curtailed, and facilities closed. But compared to the other sports no actual games have been missed. According to the NFL Players Association doctor, the football season likely goes on close to schedule. The NFL does lead a charmed life.
Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had Dr. Thom Mayer on his podcast. Dr. Mayer has served as NFLPA’s medical director since 2001. According to his bio, Mayer was brought in by former union leader Gene Upshaw, the day Minnesota Vikings tackle Cory Stringer died of heatstroke during the second day of training camp. He has vast experience in disaster medicine and was able to shed some light on COVID-19 and the upcoming football season.
The PA is in contact with medical experts from around the country and set up a COVID-19 brain trust. Additionally, they are in regular contact with the league about how to handle the crisis. Mayer spoke about whether there will be an NFL and if so, what it will look like.
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He said it’s too soon to tell, but what happens now determines the size and scope. There will be better answers in May and June. However, the doctor is optimistic. It’s a matter of when the “hotspots” (i.e. New York, California) cool down, which is up to the people in those communities to take care of themselves and follow best practices to limit the spread of the virus.
Issues such as people attending games and under what circumstances they could be allowed into stadiums are up in the air. It’s very possible games could be played in empty stadiums. He said if the virus runs as it has in other countries, it’s possible training camps could open on time sans non-essential people.
Certainly, the start of the football season is something to look forward to but it’s important to remember, as Dr. Mayer said, it’s up to all of us to stop the spread of this virus.
For more information on fighting the coronavirus please visit the Centers for Disease Control website or those of your state and local health departments.