The NFL Physicians Society is discontinuing physicals for players amid the coronavirus pandemic, the group told both the league and its players’ association, according to a letter obtained by NFL Network.
The decision will affect draft prospects whose health issues need to be rechecked by teams after last month’s NFL scouting combine.
Teams still can arrange for free agents or players who are traded to undergo a physical in their homes cities or at another nearby location by a third-party doctor.
In the letter, NFLPS president Dr. Anthony Casolaro said the suspension of physicals will last “until the health crisis has passed.”
“We believe it is not in the interest of the players nor team medical staff to continue to perform these physicals,” Casolaro wrote, according to NFL Network.
Casolaro is also the head Redskins physician.
“At a time of the most serious pandemic in our lifetime, we believe medical resources should focus on those who are ill or in need of care,” he wrote.
Casolaro added that official team physicals will resume “when it is appropriate to do so.”
Free agents and draft prospects have already been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Physicals for free agents have been delayed due to travel logistics, which is why teams couldn’t officially announce player signings on social media when the new league year opened Wednesday. The NFL did give teams the option to conduct physicals with an independent doctor, as Tom Brady did with Tampa Bay.
Draft hopefuls have been prohibited from “all in-person predraft visits.”