Lions’ Stafford ‘glad’ false positive led to change

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said he’s “glad” he was diagnosed with a false positive COVID-19 test because it might help others avoid a similar situation in the future.

Stafford landed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Aug. 1, then was removed three days later with what was determined a false positive. Stafford had tested negative twice before his one positive test and then negative at least three times in the days following.

“I know everybody is doing the best that they possibly can. I’m glad it happened to me at this point, and the league is trying to change and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Stafford said. “But I’m sure there’s going to be another problem down the road at some point that we’re going to have to figure out when we get there. That’s the way it’s been for the last six months; we’ve all been living it. Whether we’re a league trying to test thousands of players or just trying to go out and get our groceries.

“So we understand things are going to change and we’re going to have to adapt, but I’m glad it got settled. Glad it’s over with, and I’m just happy to be in the building hanging with the guys, getting a little bit of normalcy back when it comes to football.”

The league altered its testing 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 come back negative, the person can go back to normal activity.

Stafford said that there was “some fear” initially when he received his positive test but that he was asymptomatic — although he knows many people have tested positive while being asymptomatic. He said it was “a little bit of a scary thing.”

“Everybody got tested and it all panned itself out, you know; obviously you feel a whole lot better about it,” Stafford said. “Not to say that, it can happen to anybody. You can be as careful as you want to be and sometimes it happens.

“So, just happy at this point, everybody to my knowledge and family and myself are healthy.”

Stafford said he and his wife, Kelly, are planning to send their children to school this year if it is an option because “Kelly wants them to interact with other kids.”

He said he watched his sister and Kelly’s sister have their children virtual learn during the spring and appreciated how difficult it could be for families. The COVID-19 false positive and having a newborn daughter at home did not alter Stafford’s thoughts about opting out of the season. He had a conversation with Kelly (who had a brain tumor removed in April 2019) and his family, but he said he never gave it any real consideration.

“I never gave it serious thought,” Stafford said. “I want to play football. I want to be out here. I have a supportive wife and family that know I love doing what I do and know it’s important to me, so they were right on board with me.”

Stafford is returning from a season-ending back injury that cost him the final eight games of the 2019 season. Before his injury, he threw for 2,499 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.

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