NFL’s Positive Test Rate Across Players, Coaches & Staff Stands At 0.46%

The NFLPA announced on Wedneday an agreement with the NFL for daily testing of players to continue until Sept. 5.

The original agreement between the NFL and union mandated daily testing for the first two weeks of training camp, and if the positive COVID rate was at or below 5%, testing would shift to every other day. 

Although the rate of positive tests among players and Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel is “below one percent” and no club rate is “greater than two percent,” both the NFL and NFLPA elected to continue require daily testing.

The increased testing will without a doubt give the NFL a better chance to stay on top of any positive test before they turn into an outbreak — especially as players around the league start putting pads on and contact will be in full force. 

As of Tuesday, the NFL had conducted 109,075 tests of players, coaches, and staff. Just 0.46% have come back positive, according to NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills.

“I think we were pleasantly surprised at how few positive tests we had,” Dr.Sills said of the initial results. “I think since that time, that positivity rate that I gave you reflects the fact that our teams have done, and our players, staff and coaches have done, a terrific job of staying uninfected.”

“I’m not aware of anyone that has had severe illness up to this point,” Sills added.

Sills also said the league is monitoring any heart problems for players who test positive. There have been reports of college football players contracting myocarditis or inflammation of the heart muscle after testing positive for COVID-19. The protocols the NFL has with the union already require heart tests for players who have tested positive before they are allowed to return.

“I think they’re important and ongoing conversations when players have tested positive about what those screening tests mean and what’s the best way to rule out any of those complications,” Sills said.

“So it is something we’ll continue to monitor. I think one of the opportunities that we will have will be to contribute our data as we’ve done all these evaluations and look at that group as a whole and see what we’ve learned and what the outcomes have showed us, because that’s obviously an important issue right now for all of the sports medicine world.”

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