Brabant football teams monitored to study coronavirus spread in team sports

Doctors at the Amphia Hospital in Breda are teaming up with Noord-Brabant football clubs PSV, Willem II, RKC, and NAC to monitor if and how the coronavirus spreads in team sports. The footballers' health will be monitored in the coming months, and if they show symptoms of the coronavirus, the researchers will track down where they got the virus and whether it spread to their teammates, doctor Peter Joosten, initiator of this study, said to Omroep Brabant.

The players will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and then train according to the applicable rules. The moment that a player gets symptoms that could indicate a coronavirus infection, a mucus sample will be taken and tested. The source of the virus will then be traced - did the player get it from someone at home, or someone in his team. According to Joosten, this could show whether or not contact sport like football is a source of infection. 

Sports matches are banned until September 1, but from June the rules for training are being relaxed somewhat. "We will monitor the consequences for the footballers, so you can draw scientific conclusions from that. I think it will be interesting." Joosten expects that the results of this study will help the government make better decisions about coronavirus measures in sports and the rest of society.

"After a few months we'll see the number of infections. Then we'll also know whether it corresponds to the national figures. We'll see the number of infections and whether football leads to more infections," Joosten said to the broadcaster. "I think we can extend the conclusions to other team sports."

The football players will be followed anonymously and the data will be used for scientific publication. "We are not so much concerned with the individual, we mainly want to know what is happening in the group."