On Saturday afternoon, the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit the world of professional football in a much more tangible way than it previously had.
The XFL confirmed to USA Today that an unidentified player on the XFL’s Seattle Dragons tested positive for the virus, and received his results on Friday. The player has been quarantined.
The Seattle area has been one of the most-affected areas in the United States. Washington state had the first known U.S. coronavirus case and has since had the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the country, and Washington governor Jay Inslee recently called for a ban of gatherings of more than 250 people (get the latest on the pandemic at CBS News).
The Dragons player that contracted the virus did participate in the team’s recent game against the Houston Roughnecks. Though USA Today’s report notes that he was asymptomatic at the time, it is important to further note that the virus can still spread even if an infected person is asymptomatic.
“The league is alerting players, staff, vendors and partners associated with the Dragons, Roughnecks, and (St. Louis) BattleHawks, as this player also participated in the February 29 game in St. Louis,” the XFL said in a statement provided to USA Today. “The XFL is monitoring the situation closely and taking every measure necessary in accordance with recommendations set forth by the CDC.”
The XFL had already suspended league operations entirely earlier in the week. According to a statement released at the time, all XFL players will be paid their base pay and benefits through the regular season, and all XFL ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit towards future games. The league plans to come back to play a full season in 2021 and beyond.