As the 2020 NFL season draws closer with players less than a month away from reporting for training camp, concern for football being played this fall is growing. Now, amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, one former NFL team doctor has an ominous prediction for the upcoming season.
On June 21, more than a month before players were scheduled to report to their team for training camp, approximately 10 NFL teams had at least one player test positive for COVID-19.
Now, with players and staff set to be in close proximity at workout facilities, Dr. David Chao is predicting to Sports Illustrated that the number of positive cases will skyrocket. Chao, who served as the Los Angeles Chargers team doctor from 1996-2013, updated his original prediction that each team would have a positive test by the end of the regular season.
“At this point, I might move it up: By Week 1, there’s going to be a player or a coach on every team. We’re at about 10 right now. And players haven’t reported yet,” Dr. David Chao said, via Sports Illustrated. “When they report on the 28th, it’s gonna be numbers, numbers, numbers.”
The ominous prediction comes at a time when the NCAA is experiencing its own COVID-19 outbreak just weeks after players reported for voluntary workouts. The Clemson Tigers have reported 37 cases, while Texas Tech has seen 23 football players and staff contract the virus.
While the NFL has created strict social distancing guidelines for team facilities, clubs will head into training camp with 90-man rosters, and it is inevitable that the coronavirus could be passed between players and staff.