Gamekeepers are facing a game-changing threat, with some even warning of the possibility of “extended stays”.
Gamekeepers are keeping their eyes on the game as they watch their own players, watching for signs of stress or illness, and looking for signs that their game could be at risk.
“We’ve got a lot of players that are coming back from the summer and that’s really a critical time, and it’s very rare to see that in the regular season,” said Gary Miller, a gamekeeper and trainer who coaches the Washington States Football League’s Seattle Thunderbirds.
“I’ve seen quite a few guys in the NFL get back from a long-term injury, and then they just come back, they get back into the regular schedule and they’re healthy.
The fact is, if they’re coming back and they can’t perform, you’re going to have problems, so I think you have to be vigilant, and you have a really good idea of what’s going on.”
Miller, who has coached the league for three seasons, said the USFL is in a unique position because it’s playing at home, in a city that’s home to the US Army and is home to professional sports teams such as the Seattle Seahawks.
He said players are encouraged to take part in games but he said the league had seen a “tremendous drop in injuries” during the last year.
Miller said it was “very, very difficult” for gamekeepers to keep up with the volume of players returning from overseas.
One player who has recently returned from a stint in the US military is a former player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Miller said that player, who did not want to be named, had played in just five games in his NFL career and was returning to play.
In fact, he had played just one game in the last three years, Miller said.
“I’ve never had a guy like that back in my career,” Miller said of that player.
“He was on the bench for almost three years.
That was an injury that just kept happening to him.
It just happened that way, and we’re just starting to see some of those injuries, but I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Miller noted that the gamekeepers in the league were doing everything they could to avoid getting injured, but that some players have been forced to get back to their games when they could no longer practice or train.
“They’re going back and forth between games and you’re seeing them in the hospital, or they’re going home,” Miller added.
Gamekeepers and game-day health care workers have been trying to monitor players to make sure they are healthy, and Miller said that if they see any signs of illness, they should seek immediate medical attention.
A number of gamekeepers said they were taking precautions in their own games to ensure they weren’t exposed to a dangerous virus, such as wearing masks or covering their mouths to keep from coughing or sneezing.
However, Miller cautioned that he wasn’t concerned about the risks of returning players to play after a trip overseas.
“We’re not worried about it,” Miller noted.
“We’re concerned about them, and I don’t think it’s a concern.
We’re going through a season right now where we’re going out there and getting ready for the season and seeing the guys that we have here, and seeing if they can perform, and if they have a chance to perform well.”
The gamekeepers union said in a statement that it is aware of “a trend in the United States” that it could see more extended stays, which are generally reserved for injured or retired players who are “going through the process of a long, arduous rehabilitation”.
The USFL’s gamekeepers’ union has also said that it’s looking into ways to make it easier for gameworkers to return to work.
For now, the USSF said it’s taking a cautious approach.
“In order to maintain the quality of the game for all of our players, the game is being played at a time when players are returning to the field and are making sure that they are adequately prepared to return,” said the union’s general manager, Scott Brown.
Brown said that the league is “well-positioned” to deal with extended stays but that the union is working to ensure that all players get the health care they need.