Cam Heyward discusses player safety amid COVID-19 pandemic
The restrictions placed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have offered up its own set of challenges heading into the 2020 NFL season. Regardless, there are still plenty of concerns for players like Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward.
Heyward suffers from asthma and could be at risk for testing positive if the necessary safety protocols are not in place. He admitted during an appearance on NFL NOW that he still has mixed feeling about a return to action without a vaccine:
“Well, you know, as of right now, I haven’t thought that way,” Heyward said. “Currently I’ve been working out, just trying to get ready, but I have to have these talks with my family and make sure I take every precaution if I’m gonna go back. We don’t have a vaccine. We’re still dealing with a lot of testing and things have to fall in place. I have to do what’s right for family. I have to make sure I don’t jeopardize them as well as myself.”
Heyward added that players are still pondering the decision with training camp coming up next month for the Steelers and other teams around the league:
“Everyone I’ve heard from is just trying to find out more information because they want to go back to football. We’re gonna have to be very smart about this. This isn’t a decision that’s made in one or two days due to not having a vaccine and still dealing with this. We got to make sure that every player and every family feels safe doing this.”
Heyward’s comments are certainly understandable considering the risks involved with playing amid an ongoing pandemic that is still experiencing a record-setting number of positive confirmed cases in several states. Although the NFL has since made efforts to ensure player safety, their health without a vaccine is hardly a guarantee at the moment.
The league has acknowledged the prospect of limiting the number of players on the roster in both training camp and the 2020 campaign in an effort to reduce the possibility of an outbreak.
Regardless, it remains to be seen if it will be enough to spur players like Heyward to go through in good faith that safety guidelines are established.