NBA’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocol, Explained: When can a player return to play?
Lakers superstar LeBron James is expected to miss extended time after participating in NBA health and safety protocols.
The NBA introduced these protocols ahead of the 2020-21 season to limit the spread of COVID-19 as teams return to their respective home markets after competing in the controlled NBA “bubble” at Walt Disney World Resort in 2020.
THAN: What are the rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players?
Prior to the 2021-22 season, the league made modifications to its health and safety protocols, a direct result of increasing vaccine availability for all players in the NBA.
What are the NBA’s health and safety protocols? Here’s what we know based on the many instances where players have missed out on time this season.
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NBA Health and Safety Protocols Explained
Why would a player participate in the NBA’s health and safety protocols?
Any vaccinated NBA player is placed through health and safety procedures after testing positive for COVID-19 or receiving inconclusive COVID-19 test results.
In addition to receiving a positive or inconclusive test result, an unvaccinated player is also included in the league’s health and safety procedures if they are deemed to have come into contact with a person. positive for COVID-19.
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As of the start of the 2021-22 season, unvaccinated players are “required to stay in their accommodation while at home” and need to stay in team hotels when traveling. Unvaccinated players are also banned from accessing facilities deemed “higher risk”, including restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and more.
An unvaccinated player who violates any of the rules above is also included in the health and safety protocols.
According to a memo obtained by the Associated Press, 97 percent of NBA players are fully vaccinated.
How can a player return to play?
If any player tests positive for COVID-19, they must stay away from their team for at least 10 days unless they return two negative PCR tests in a 24-hour period.
Unvaccinated players flagged for contact tracing must quarantine for seven days and may return to action if they continue to return negative tests. In most cases, vaccinated players flagged for contact tracing will not be quarantined, but seven days of more frequent testing is required.
In addition to receiving a license from the federation, individual teams can implement a return program to ensure players are prepared for the cardiovascular demands of returning to the ring.