The Houston Texans have released their COVID safety protocols for travel as the season start edges closer. This will bode as a challenge for players.
The Houston Texans will be taking part in the season within the next few months and a lot of questions had remained unanswered as to how to relaunch the world’s most successful sports business while keeping players, staff and employees safe.
It’s not an easy challenge and there are a plethora of NFL officials as well as medical experts working in cohort with government agencies to make sure they’re in compliance in regard to the utmost of public safety.
But despite all of what’s in front of them, it’s apparent that training camp, the preseason and the start of the regular season will go on as scheduled with no delays or cancellations.
That’s remarkable because this global pandemic has had a crazy way of remaining as fierce as humanly possible, causing problems for a lot of civilizations, notwithstanding the United States.
The NFL is trying their earnest to remain as the league that’s undefeated and not being cancelled regardless of the circumstances. They lead in revenues, viewership and attendance when stacked up with other pro leagues and they’re trying their best to make sure that something so sacred — the regular season — does not get ground to the dust by COVID-19.
So how are they ramping this up?
As per a report from the Chron’s Aaron Wilson, the team is stepping up their measures when teams travel on the road. It’s apparent that the teams will be playing each other in their home stadiums and there will not be an isolated bubble like the NBA is doing.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, has suggested that the “bubble” concept must be adopted for the NFL to keep them safest but it appears that they’ve deviated from his recommendations, coming up with a plan on their own.
Here are some of the details:
BioReference Laboratories will be handling all of the tests for the NFL. This is the same firm that handles the testing for the NBA as well as the MLS and it appears things have gone without a hitch with the players getting timely results. Although delays have existed, they have been infrequent.
BioReference also has its hands in the pharmaceutical business so they’re versed in a variety of different facets in the medical field. Their goal, as listed in their 1st quarter earnings report, which has taken a hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, is to conduct 400,000 tests per day. I’m sure they’ll get there with the amount of business they’re getting from three premier sports leagues.
Players will be tested at a designated earlier in the NRG Stadium complex utilizing the nasal swab — yikes — as well as having the blood drawn for the antibodies test as well.
Those who test positive will have to have two negative tests before returning back the field and
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there will be a progressive, three-day training program to ensure they have what it takes to return to the field. Since the lasting effects of the virus are not quite known just yet, there have been reports of lung damage after recovery, the NFL wants to make sure that players have the readiness to get back to the field.
Those players are also barred from the training facility and can only come in contact with medical personnel until all barriers are cleared for them to return. This would typically indicate 10 days since testing positive as well as 72 hours of consecutive negative-resulted that are issued back-to-back within a 24 hour period.
They’ll also wear a device that will be used for contact tracing to ensure that all affected players are quarantined appropriately should one contract the virus.
Clear as mud? It makes sense but these measures are needed to keep the Houston Texans safe.
When traveling, here are the guidelines:
- Masks and physical distancing is required whenever possible
- Players and staff cannot use public or private transportation while on the road
- Players cannot leave the hotel to eat, they must use room service or contactless delivery
- Hotel room visits are prohibited from anyone that’s not in the traveling group
- Hotel pools and fitness facilities cannot be used unless it’s limited to the traveling party and has to be disinfected under protocols that fall within the league’s compliance levels
- Buses cannot have more than 50 percent capacity
- There has to be at least one open seat between passengers on planes
This will bode as a significant challenge for players who are used to how things were in the pre-COVID world but one thing is for sure, these guidelines will prevent the spread of the virus if followed to the letter. Let’s just hope the players take it as seriously as it needs to be.
This is an interesting development and more information will be shared over time in regard to the details of the season.
Here’s to hoping for the best as the Houston Texans make a drive to have exponential success from their 2019 campaign.