HomeAmerican FootballNFL Reduces Testing For Asymptomatic Vaccinated Players

NFL Reduces Testing For Asymptomatic Vaccinated Players

NFL Reduces Testing For Asymptomatic Vaccinated Players

The NFL’s revised protocols will only test those with COVID-19 symptoms and unvaccinated players. Also, in a memo sent to clubs, 2 pm on Monday was the deadline for higher risk players to send written notice about withdrawing (The Associated Press). Violations will result in salary deduction and the notice is irrevocable.

In another memo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Medical information strongly indicates that this variant is significantly more contagious but possibly less severe than prior variants, particularly for people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster shot.”

Unvaccinated players will continue their daily test, a shift from the weekly test of vaccinated players. A recommendation by the NFL Players Association for daily testing for all players was rejected by the league and the union in favour of decreased testing. Three games scheduled for this weekend were postponed on Friday due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

The NFL entered the season with vaccination rates of 94% for players and nearly 100% for football staff members. Vaccinated individuals were tested once per week, and those who remained unvaccinated were tested daily. Through the first three months of the season, in six testing periods that spanned Sept. 5 to Nov. 27, 110 players and 187 staff members tested positive.

Dr Tony Casolaro, chief medical officer for Washington, expressed concerns in a conference call that as much as 21 out of 23 players on a team who tested positive would’ve continued practising based on mild symptoms.

“We will continue to monitor medical and public health developments, both generally and at each club, and be prepared to adjust protocols further as conditions warrant, including introducing greater flexibility based on medical considerations,” Goodell stated.

Recent events surrounding the omicron strain of COVID-19 has swayed the NFL’s previous plan to move games due to several outbreaks across the league entering Week 15 of the season. Several clubs have raised concerns regarding the alarming rate at which the virus is spreading.

Clubs now have many players on the reserve/COVID-19 list including Rookie James Hudson III, right guard Wyatt Teller and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. bringing the number up to 12 starters. 

The Chicago Bears have also reported many inclusions in the reserve/COVID-19 list including their three coordinators after recording positive virus tests during the week. Also, Washington pulled out defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, Casey Tohill, Montez Sweat and James Smith-Williams from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Dallas Cowboys placed defensive tackles Trysten Hill and Osa Odighizuwa on the list. The Baltimore Ravens added wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the list.

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