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Can this NFL season get any stranger? A barber put the Chiefs and their starting QB Patrick Mahomes in jeopardy of missing the Super Bowl.
Thankfully, it will likely work out, and no one, including the two high risk close contacts, will miss the big game. Daniel Kilgore (backup center) and Demarcus Robinson (backup wide receiver) will miss practice all week, but if they stay negative, they will be reinstated by Saturday. They can then fly down to Tampa before the Super Bowl.
How does a barber put more than 20 Chiefs players/staffers at risk?
Let me explain.
Pre-pandemic, it was routine for teams to have a barber come to a team facility. When news first broke yesterday of close contacts, my suspicion was that the barber had been allowed in the team facility.
That is what made him/her subject to testing and the team subject to contact tracing.
As part of the COVID protocols, teams can designate a limited number of additional individuals in the tier 1 testing protocols. These can include ancillary individuals like massage therapists, chiropractors, pastors, barbers etc. Such individuals need to adhere to the same strict daily testing criteria that all other NFL personnel follow.
It sounds strange to have a barber come into a facility during a pandemic, especially when some states have prohibited hair salons or barber shops from operating, but the reality is that having one barber, who has been tested, in a controlled facility is safer than having team members go into the community to seek those services.
Kilgore good naturedly posted this doctored picture. Since he was already deemed a close contact, he likely told the barber to finish the job.
The bigger issue here is that the barber didn’t wait for the results of the point of care testing before starting his services on Sunday. Robinson was likely the first customer and Kilgore the second. When the results of the 15-minute test was returned, these two were deemed high-risk close contacts and placed out for five days, a relatively easy resolution to the problem.
My confidence in the NFL season, which is based on the concept of viral load, has been born out with the final game this Sunday. Many said the NFL could not succeed without a bubble, but here we are. This season, there was less than 1/10th of 1% positive rate for players/staff.
Congrats to the NFL. Despite strict COVID testing protocols, the Chiefs escaped being potentially “scalped” by their own barber. Let’s hope this Sunday provides a “close shave” as we all want to see a great game come down to the wire.