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Toronto Blue Jays medical director develops system to bring sports back

Dr. Glenn Copeland says once doctors can prove that they can keep players safe, then he feels football will be played in the fall.

WACO, Texas — Sports fans across the globe have been patiently waiting and for their teams to retake center stage.

Some leagues around the globe have opened up. This includes the Korean Baseball League, UFC, NASCAR, and possibly, Major League Baseball in July. But what do other sports need to do to be able to exist in a COVID-19 era?

Dr. Glenn Copeland, the medical director of the Toronto Blue Jays and advisor to QuestCap, is helping to develop a system that will allow sports to exist again and soon.

Copeland said about 20 teams from all four major professional sports in North America have approached QuestCap for more information about the company's return-to-sports model.

Their plan is to be able to process athletes and team staff through an, "Inner circle." One based on temperature checks and serology tests, to ensure teams are COVID-19 free before they play their respective sports.

"They're all looking for the exact same thing," said Copeland. "How do they keep players safe. How do they prevent the spread, how do they keep their facilities as COVID free as possible."

Copeland said doctors, with the appropriate number of nurses and attending staff, should be able to process teams of 30 players in about 35 minutes while they get the test results in 15 minutes. He also mentioned that they have created a three-zone method.

"The outside zone is the world, that's where everybody is," Copeland said. "The middle zone is where we do the testing, and once you clear the middle zone. Once you tested and we know as best as we can, you are COVID free, then you get to the inner area. The inner area is what we call as close as to being COVID free as we can be, as best as we can test."

Back in March, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic forced every sport we know and love to be suspended or canceled. Now the big question on everyone's mind is, "Will football be played in the fall?"

"You'll know probably by mid-summer," Copeland said.

Copeland said once other sports get up and going, then what happens from there will dictate on if football will be played.

"Once we prove that we can keep players safe, I do believe that we will be able to play football," Copeland said. "I do believe there will be a tremendous amount of testing involved. I think players will be medically scrutinized more than they have ever been scrutinized before." 

We are also three months away from volleyball and football season at the middle school and high school level. Dr. Copeland spoke on what procedures might be in place if North America is still in the same situation come the fall.

"Maybe some kind of temperature checks, symptoms checks and make sure if there is anybody displaying any symptoms, we get them away from the herd," Copeland said. "Cut them out, get them over into some quarantined until we know exactly what we're dealing with."

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