NFL Physicians Society stops physicals due to coronavirus, but teams will get updated scans for Tua Tagovailoa

As the sports world has shut down live competition due to the coronavirus, the NFL has moved along with its offseason in largely normal fashion. While the plans for the NFL Draft in Las Vegas have changed, we still experienced an entertaining beginning to NFL free agency that saw plenty of movement that gave sports fans such much-needed excitement.

As the days have turned into weeks, however, and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t lost steam, the NFL will now start to be affected in ways the league never has been before.

On Monday, Dr. Anthony Casolaro, co-head physician for the Washington Redskins and president of the NFL Physicians Society, sent a letter to the NFL and NFLPA discontinuing NFL-related physicals until the health crisis has passed.

Here is a portion of the letter, provided by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network:

“The Board of Directors of the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) have met by phone and communicated with members of Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS) that the NFLPS has agreed to discontinue combine rechecks, free agent physicals and physicals for non-combine players until the health crisis has passed. We believe it is not in the interest of the players nor team medical staff to continue to perform these physicals. 

At a time of the most serious pandemic in our lifetime, we believe medical resources should focus on those who are ill or in need of care.

We look forward to examining players when it is appropriate to do so.”

While the 2020 NFL Draft changed from a public party in Las Vegas to a televised semi-private event, many wondered if it would actually take place given how the coronavirus continues to spread. This statement could indicate the hiatus the NFL might be forced to undertake like the NBA and other collegiate sports is not far away. 

Without physicals, some deals in free agency might not go through, trades could be halted and then of course there are the physicals draft applicants will undergo with interested teams — who take these screenings very seriously. This might be something the league could work around, however.

Consider former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He’s considered one of the top signal callers in this class, but is working back from a serious hip injury. Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post reported that even though there won’t be NFL scouting combine re-checks, Tagovailoa will be able to send up-to-date hip scans to NFL teams prior to the draft.

We still have a month to go before the 2020 NFL Draft, but one has to wonder if the draft or the NFL season will have to be moved to a future date due to the pandemic, and when the NFLPS will deem it appropriate to shift its focus back to football.

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