NFL chief medical officer “cautiously optimistic” about 2020 season

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The NFL’s chief medical officer believes the league has the right plan in place to play a full season during a pandemic, even as he acknowledges that won’t be easy.

Dr. Allen Sills said the virus may be with us throughout the 2020 NFL season, but the league has protocols to keep players, coaches and staff safe.

“I remain cautiously optimistic because we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and energy with these protocols and preparing, trying to mitigate risk to the best that we can,” Sills told the Houston Chronicle. “At the same time, we have to realize that this is going to be hard. This is going to be really hard because this is a tough opponent. This virus is a highly contagious virus, and it remained very endemic across our country.

“It’s going to be a real challenge for us at every level of the league, but our teams are very committed to this. I know our players are very invested, as are all of our coaches and staff. We’re all going to put our very best foot forward to try to mitigate risk and see if we can carry forward and coexist with a virus. As much as we’d like it to go away, I think it’s clear that it’s unlikely to be eradicated at any time in the very near future.”

Major League Baseball managed to play only a few days before one team was shut down because of an outbreak of the virus and another team was shut down because it played against that team. The NFL is hoping to avoid similar problems, and hoping its plan proves workable for this most challenging of seasons.