HOUSTON – The Houston Texans have made major changes to its team facilities in order to align with protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state, local, NFL and NFLPA guidelines on operating during COVID-19.
In preparation for players’ arrival to training camp, Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair invested in a number of changes this offseason, allowing for more social distancing and the proper cleaning protocols necessary for players, coaches and staff to safely do their jobs amidst COVID-19.
Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby handled the project planning with the help of department heads from the team’s football operations and team logistics, strength and conditioning, security and player logistics, equipment services, video operations, sports medicine, sports science and performance nutrition staffs.
“This has been a massive undertaking to make sure, first and foremost, that the health and safety of everyone who steps foot in our building is prioritized at all times,” O’Brien said. “We’re fortunate to have great people in place who put a ton of time in this offseason to get our facility to the point that we can safely operate training camp, but we know it’s an unprecedented time and it’s our responsibility to stay diligent about proper hygiene and tweak our operation as new information comes out.”
As players and staff returned to NRG Stadium in preparation for the 2020 season, they found a completely revamped work experience aimed at maximizing the wellness of all personnel and their families. Some of the changes include:
- A tier system implemented by the NFL that limits the number of people with access to restricted areas of team facilities and direct access to players and coaches.
- League-issued proximity sensor devices that must be worn at all times inside the facility.
- A dedicated infection control officer, Geoff Kaplan, and the team’s first-ever facility hygiene coordinator, Ray Clarage.
- Increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting throughout the building, especially high-touch surfaces, using hospital-grade sanitation materials.
- Signage in all areas reinforcing the importance of proper hygiene, physical distancing, and mask-wearing.
- An on-site COVID-19 testing facility operated in coordination with Bio-Reference Laboratories.
- Facial recognition systems that automatically open doors, ensuring all highly trafficked areas are completely touchless.
- Physically distanced player lockers spread over three different locker room areas to accommodate the 80-man training camp roster.
- Auxiliary dining areas and pre-prepared food service stations to alleviate congestion in the team cafeteria.
- Distanced meeting setups inside the Houston Methodist Training Center to accommodate team and position group meetings with proper spacing.
- Dedicated one-way ingress/egress in highly trafficked areas.
- New flooring that’s easier to clean and sanitize.
- Hand sanitizer stations and increased ventilation throughout NRG Stadium and all team areas.
- Educational safety and hygiene materials sent to all personnel and their family members.