Cardinals get taste of new normal, COVID-19 testing in Flight Plan episode
The Arizona Cardinals got their first real look of how the coronavirus will impact their routine and the season in the team’s latest Flight Plan episode.
With Cardinals training camp ramping up, veterans, rookies and coaches saw what exactly the new normal has in store.
“In 21 years, full time, in the NFL, there’s been some things that pop up over the years that are challenging. But by far, this is it,” Cardinals head athletic trainer and infection control officer Tom Reed said. “From top to bottom, from March 15, I’ve been here every single day in the building. Just trying to make sure that everything is set to ensure that we have the best chance at success as possible.
“The teams that comply and do it the right way are going to be more successful. You’ll have less of a chance of losing people for an amount time and games missed, so I think that rang home to our players as a group. There was a huge amount of buy-in because of that.”
The Cardinals have a stringent routine to follow when they walk into the facility.
Each morning, players fill out a 10-question form online before they enter the building. Any “yes” answers are detected by Reed before anyone walks in.
Once through, players get their temperatures checked before getting a nose swab for 15 seconds in each nostril. Luckily for the Cardinals, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said the swabs aren’t the ones “that go back to your brain.”
The athletes then must pick up a monitor that tracks when players are next to others and who they have interacted with.
Additionally, the team outfitted the facility with social-distancing technology. Each locker is separated by plexiglass, something linebacker Chandler Jones approves off, and the cafeteria has been modified to help keep people spread out.
But the biggest thing that has helped keep the players’ minds at ease, Reed said, has been the use of electrostatic spray guns that clean all of the surfaces anyone uses, as well as the response time of the Cardinals’ personnel on keeping things clean.
“It’s definitely different, but for me just being here, it all feels normal kinda in a way,” quarterback Kyler Murray said. “We’re finally back in the building with all the guys, and at the end of the day, I’m a football player. I love to play football.
“It’s all new, but at the end of the day, it’s something that has to be done.”