NFL

ACC medical expert: Season can be played safely

  • ACC reporter.
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2010.
  • Graduate of the University of Florida.

The chair of the ACC medical advisory group believes a fall season can be played safely, one of the biggest reasons why the league remains on course to start the season in September.

Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a Duke infectious disease specialist, told Sports Business Daily that doctors have learned enough over the last six months to manage the risk.

“We believe we can mitigate it down to a level that makes everyone safe,” Wolfe told The Daily. “Can we safely have two teams meet on the field? I would say yes. Will it be tough? Yes. Will it be expensive and hard and lots of work? For sure. But I do believe you can sufficiently mitigate the risk of bringing COVID onto the football field or into the training room at a level that’s no different than living as a student on campus.”

Last week, the ACC set an 11-game league schedule to begin the weekend of Sept. 12. Ten of those games are in conference and includes Notre Dame, meaning all schools will follow the same testing protocols. All nonconference opponents are also required to adhere to the same testing protocols as well.

But Wolfe has also told commissioner John Swofford and league athletics directors there is no way to cut the risk to zero, and they have to be comfortable with some level of risk tolerance.

“You can’t tell me that running onto a football field is supposed to be a zero-risk environment,” Wolfe continued. “Look at all of the regular sporting injuries that we accept as a certain level of risk as part and parcel of football. Now the reality is that we have to accept a little bit of COVID risk to be a part of that.”

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