On the N.F.L.’s march to finish a 269-game schedule amid a pandemic, greater than 700 gamers, coaches and different group personnel examined constructive for the coronavirus.
Solely one of many league’s 32 groups remained untouched by the virus: the Seattle Seahawks. And the way they made it by way of the lengthy season virus-free, in Washington State, is a testomony to revolutionary pondering and procedures.
“They invented a playbook for a secure apply setting at a time when the longer term was deeply unsure and folks had been questioning the knowledge of professional sports activities beginning up,” stated Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist who has helped organizations reply to the coronavirus and informally suggested the Seahawks.
The Seahawks confronted maybe essentially the most arduous circumstances within the N.F.L. Their 2020 schedule included 5 cross-country flights, which meant they might log extra miles than another N.F.L. group. And once they had been house, the Seahawks skilled not removed from Kirkland, Wash., the nation’s first coronavirus “scorching spot.”
That made them witnesses to the pandemic nicely earlier than the season kicked off. Sam Ramsden, the group’s director of participant well being and efficiency, cared for his spouse, Lisa, in March, when, docs consider, she had Covid-19.
Beginning in late spring, Ramsden, Coach Pete Carroll and different group leaders used a mixture of pragmatism, flexibility and gamesmanship to duck, bob and weave by way of the pandemic.
The group’s soccer operations division created a schedule for who can be examined and when. (Nearly 36,000 exams had been finally given.) Every morning, trainers and others handed out sensors that tracked how shut gamers, coaches and workers members had been to 1 one other and for the way lengthy. The journey coordinator made positive the group’s drivers had been examined and buses had been disinfected.
“It was like a band of brothers,” stated Ramsden, who usually wore a T-shirt that learn, “Keep Unfavorable or Keep Residence.”
Out-of-town guests needed to be examined instantly upon arriving in Seattle, stay in a lodge for 24 hours and get a second take a look at. Solely those that examined unfavourable twice may see a participant, coach or workers member.
Past commonsense initiatives, Ramsden and Carroll pieced collectively uniquely Seahawkian methods to maintain coronavirus security a precedence. Carroll is understood for his mantra messaging — his favourite is “All the pieces is a contest” — so he informed gamers that every place group would contend for the title of fewest shut contacts, hammering house a message that the group was solely as safe as its weakest hyperlink. (The large receivers received.)
“I noticed that we had been going to need to create our personal bubble,” Carroll stated. “All the pieces that one individual did, everyone did, if we had been collectively and linked.”