Here’s Why NFL Chief Medical Officer Still Against Bubble Option

Dr. Allen Stills hasn't been a fan of the idea for quite some time

by Abigail Adams

October 13, 2020

The NFL is battling a bit of a COVID-19 problem, but it apparently hasn’t changed the league’s stance on a bubble environment.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills has vocally opposed the bubble idea for months. And despite the positive results that emerged from the NHL, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NWSL bubbles, his opinion remains the same.

The NFL reportedly has been considering a bubble for the postseason, especially after the recent positive tests. But some, like Sills, still have some concerns about the bubble’s effect on teams.

But the league hasn’t ruled the option out, either.

“I think we all have to recognize that there are no perfect (solutions) here,” Sills told reporters Wednesday on a video conference, via ESPN. “First of all, a bubble is not going to keep out all infections. You still have other individuals that come in and out: service workers, security, other personnel. And we’ve known from other experiences that those individuals can be infected. So simply being in a bubble doesn’t keep us safe. We still have to do all these measures of mitigation, with PPE, with identifications of symptoms, with testing, etc.

“… Something that is not discussed when people talk about a bubble is the human and emotional and the behavioral health toll that that takes on people,” Sills said. “Imagine any one of us being sequestered away from our families, all of our loved ones, for three or four or five months on end. That’s a really significant stretch point. And I think that we have to acknowledge that as just as much of a health and safety consideration as is COVID infections. And particularly when talking about a holiday period that we’ve all grown to love and celebrate.”

Obviously, the NFL’s circumstances are a bit different than other leagues. There’s still time for them to reconsider, but there isn’t much time left to plan something as intricate as a bubble.

Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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