Coronavirus: NFL chief medical officer expects positive tests, unsure when players can attend facilities


One major obstacle for the NFL opening team complexes for players is dealing with the spread of the coronavirus within a sport that involves constant contact among humans.

The NFL has been conducting a virtual offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 324,000 people worldwide.

But when and if the NFL gets going, its chief medical officer said there would be positive tests for coronavirus.

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"Obviously football and physical distancing is not compatible," NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said on a conference call on Tuesday.

And Sills acknowledges with all the physical contact, there will be positive tests of COVID-19 among players.

"We fully well expect that we will have positive cases that arise," Sills said. "Because we think that this disease will remain endemic in society, it shouldn't be a surprise that new positive cases arise.

"Our challenge is to identify them as quickly as possible and prevent spread to any other participants. We're working very diligently on that, and we'll have some detailed plans at a later time."

Some NFL teams were able to open their facilities for essential staffers, medical personnel and rehabbing players on Tuesday, but there is still no word on when all players and coaches will be cleared to attend their team's complexes.

"We're not putting dates on the calendar," Sills said. "When we and the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] together feel that we're at a point of satisfaction with the science, we'll move forward. We're moving as fast as the science and data take us."

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