Vikings athletic trainer and COVID-19 infection control officer tests positive for coronavirus

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On a Monday when many members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for coronavirus, the NFL had its own worrisome case.

Eric Sugarman, the Minnesota Vikings head athletic trainer and team’s infection control officer, tested positive for the virus. The team announced it and had a statement from Sugarman.

Members of Sugarman’s family tested positive as well. They are in self-quarantine, the team said.

The Vikings' head athletic trainer said he caught coronavirus. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The Vikings' head athletic trainer said he caught coronavirus. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Eric Sugarman will continue role as infection control officer

Having the person who is in charge of keeping the team from getting the virus catch it himself is a reminder of the challenges the NFL will face this season.

“We have followed the team's protocol for sanitizing the facility and for notifying any personnel who may have been in close contact with Eric,” the Vikings said in a statement. “Those individuals have been tested and are returning under the established guidelines. Eric has not had recent contact with players, and no additional cases within the Vikings front office have been identified at this time.”

The team said Sugarman will continue his role as infection control officer virtually as much as possible.

Sugarman has to be the Vikings’ most well-versed on the virus and how to prevent it. He and family members catching it should be a signal to everyone else that nobody can be completely safe.

Statement from Vikings trainer

The Vikings released a statement from Sugarman:

“This weekend my family and I tested positive for COVID-19. We immediately quarantined and began to follow the established protocols. At this time we are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms.

“I have an immense amount of pride in the effort I have personally put forth to protect the NFL family, the Minnesota Vikings organization and our community with thoughtfulness and decision-making based on the current science over these last four months. I am humble to be serving in that capacity as it has been some of the most rewarding work of my career. But as I sit here in quarantine, it is clear this virus does not discriminate. It should continue to be taken seriously. I encourage people to take the necessary precautions and follow guidelines that have been established nationally and locally.

“At this time I am taking care of myself and my family and am focused on their health and recovery. I will return to the Vikings and my role after following the proper protocols.”

The NFL anticipates positive tests this season. The Vikings’ story Monday shows that positive tests could come from anyone.

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