How the NFL kept its players and staff safe from Covid

Note: Attendees at Super Bowl on February 7, 2021 were given KN95 masks. Updated 2-10-21

The NFL tested everyone, every day, and did genetic sequencing to see how people got infected. They worked with the CDC to find out what they needed to do, how to get the data and how implement it. Face Masks were extremely important.

Playing was safe. Training was less safe (players stood around). Eating together was risky as face masks must be removed.

Face Masks were key. The CDC report is relevant for everyone, whether you play team sports or not. I play pickleball doubles so this information is relevant to me as well as to others who play team sports.

Where to get more information

Read more about it and watch a 4 minute video How playing it safe allowed the NFL – and the rest of us – to have a Super Bowl 2-5-21 Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent (neuro surgeon) interviews NFL Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills (orthopedic surgeon).

Listen to the full 16 minute podcast interview: A Pandemic Superbowl Fascinating, behind the scenes, interview.

Good story about how they did physical movement tracing and comments about the game. What the NFL did to keep Covid-19 off the field during the Super Bowl Masks, distancing, testing, and proximity sensors: The NFL’s Covid-19 playbook, explained. 2-8-21

The best information about team sports and Covid that I have heard or read!!

Comments below on who wore face masks at the Super Bowl

For the scientific details go to: Implementation and Evolution of Mitigation Measures, Testing, and Contact Tracing in the National Football League, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) August 9–November 21, 2020 Note: The image above is from this report.

Typical for CDC reports it is bit overwhelming for most people as it is written in an academic writing style. But, it is understandable with many details. If you, or your children, are involved in team sports, read it. Some day, maybe the CDC will make its reports much more readable, without very long sentences and paragraphs!

Who wore face masks at the Super Bowl Game?

I watch every face mask now, when and where I see them, and critique how it is worn, . I recorded the full Super Bowl on my Tivo so I could see what happened.

Which face mask were worn varied widely, a good indication about the lack of any information from a trusted source, about which masks are best. It is the Wild West!!

I found some closeups so I could see what types of masks were used: surgical, KN94, KN95 and various cloths mask. All except cloth masks, which varied widely, were easy to see as they are very distinctive. KN94 are flat on the front. KN95s have a “bird beak” looking front of the mask.

Groups I saw did not all have the same face masks, including military persons, who appeared to have similar cloth masks but different logos.

CROWDING: A total of 25,000 fans attended the game (about 35%), with 7,500 (30%) of those were health care workers invited as guests of the league to honor their service. Although the stadium was not full, the upper level had the fewest fans and the seats close to the field had the most fans.

Attendees on the rows close to the players mostly had KN95 masks, provided to all attendees. They may have been among the 7,500 invited medical personnel. There were a few people not wearing masks. I could not find any detailed views of fans above the lowest level.

Players: varied widely, from sometimes no masks when standing up, many wore surgical masks when sitting, with some masks not fitting well. Did not see any KN94 or KN95 masks.

Team support staff. Varied widely. Mostly cloth masks. A few masks fitting well or kept slipping below the nose when walking.

Three “heroes” introduced at the beginning : two had KN94 masks and one had KN95 (a nurse). The only group on the field I observed using these masks.

Please leave a comment. We want to know what you think!!