Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he was “glad” he was tested in a false positive COVID-19 test because it could help others avoid a similar situation in the future.
Stafford arrived at the COVID-19 reserve list on August 1, and was removed three days later with a false positive. Stafford tested negative twice twice before his positive test and then negatively at least three times in the days that followed.
“I know everyone is doing their best. I’m glad that happened to me at this point, and the league is trying to change and make sure it never happens again,” Stafford said. “But I’m sure there will be another problem on the road in a moment that we will need to know if we get there. This is how the last six months are; we have all survived whether it was a league trying to test thousands players or just trying to get out and take our groceries.
“So we understand things are going to change and we have to adapt, but I’m glad it was fixed. It’s fun, and I’m just happy to be in the building hanging out with the guys, getting pretty normal back when it comes to football.”
The league changed the test protocol less than a week after Stafford’s false positive. If an asymptomatic person tests positive, the person can now take two additional tests in the next 24 hours and if both return to negative, the person can return to normal activity.
Stafford said there was “some fear” at first when he received his positive test but that he was asymptomatic – although he knew many people tested positive while becoming asymptomatic. He said “a little bit of a scary thing.”
“Everyone tried and it all panned out itself, you know; obviously you felt a whole lot better about it,” Stafford said. “Not to say that, it can happen to anyone. You can be careful what you want to be and sometimes it happens.
“So, just happy at this point, everyone in my knowledge and family and myself is healthy.”
Stafford said he and his wife, Kelly, plan to send their children to school this year if it is an option because “Kelly wants them to socialize with other children.”
He said he watched his sister and Kelly’s brother that their children virtual learn in the spring and appreciate how difficult it is for families. The false COVID-19 positive and having a newborn daughter at home did not change Stafford’s thoughts about avoiding the weather. He had a conversation with Kelly (who had a brain tumor removed in April 2019) and his family, but he said he did not give it any real consideration.
“I never thought it was serious thinking,” Stafford said. “I want to play football. I want to get out of here. I have a support for my wife and family that I know I love doing what I do and I know it matters to me, so they ride with me.”
Stafford will return from a back-to-back injury that cost him the final eight games during 2019. Prior to his injury, he threw 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interventions.