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Report: MLB players to take part in COVID-19 research study

Sep 15, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the shutdown of major sports, including MLB. Now with the 2020 season indefinitely suspended, MLB players and employees will be stepping up to the plate to help in a study that could be critical in the fight against COVID-19.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB players and team employees will participate in a study that will test nearly 10,000 people for coronavirus antibodies. Researchers hope that the study can offer a better sense of how much the disease has spread in major cities across the United States.

The research study will be conducted by Stanford University, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory. As part of the testing methods, participants will have their blood drawn by a pinprick with the results expected within 10 minutes.

The results from the blood test will be examined to see if there is a prevalence of IgM, which is an antibody made in the bodies of those who have had COVID-19. The test can also show if a participant has IgG, which doctors said can be found after the virus has been with the person.

Health experts noted that the test will not lead towards any sports returning faster. However, it could be a source of new information to better understand the infection rate of COVID-19 nationally. MLB agreed to take part in the study and will have players, front-office staff, stadium workers and others participate.

Because not all MLB players will be participating, the study will not be able to provide the league with a timetable for when it could return or if it would be safe for the sport to resume. The league wanted to contribute in whatever way it could to help in the fight against COVID-19, which is exactly what it’s doing.