OZ Assists the First Semi-Professional Football League Back into Action Since COVID-19 Shutdowns
The COVID-19 pandemic struck the globe in early 2020 and discontinued mass gathering of any kind, including organized sports, especially sport spectatorship. Sports organizations of all levels scrambled to find ways to return to normal after being stricken with new policies and limitations. The American 7s Football League (A7FL) wanted to find a way back to playing football that was safe for players, coaching staff, media groups, and anyone present at games. Their partnership with OZ’s Salus solution allowed for safe gameplay by creating a COVID-19 ‘biosphere’ and permitted COVID-19 negative personnel to access the playing venue after having been previously tested using rapid result testing kits.
With limited live sports back from shutdowns, athletes and spectators were growing hungry for the return of football. The League’s goal was not only to be the first semiprofessional football team back on the playing field since early COVID-19 shutdowns, but to efficiently and safely return to the sport in a way that protected their players, staff, media personnel, etc. from the threats of coronavirus.
How OZ Helped
To guide efforts in preventing the spread of the virus while re-opening organizations using Salus, OZ partnered with well-known medical and COVID-19 experts to ensure every decision was based on the latest medical science and advancements in COVID-19 research.
On game days, players, media personnel, referees, and others used Salus’ suite of apps to complete rapid COVID-19 tests and enter the venue’s safe ‘biosphere’ created by Salus. The hundreds of people who arrived at the venue, held up their digital key on the Salus Employee app to be scanned using the staff’s Salus Test application on their mobile device, and received a rapid result, finger-stick test for the virus antigens. During the 10-15 minutes, the rapid result test kit needed to produce outcomes, those wishing to access the venue were instructed to wait in a designated, socially distanced area.
The test results were managed by Salus to create a safe ‘biosphere’. Once results were finalized, Salus notified A7FL leadership of any positive test results instantaneously which provided visibility into the health and safety of the players and personnel in real-time. These notifications allowed management to efficiently contain the possibility of outbreaks. Those who tested negative received an active QR code on Salus Employee that granted them access onto the field through Salus Monitor. Staff operating Salus Monitor scanned their QR code and ensured the correct player was checking in by matching them to their ID picture on the app.
Salus’s easy-to-use apps and the concise process allowed everyone involved on gameday to feel confident that they were safe from the threat of coronavirus.
The solution successfully reduced the COVID-19 positivity rate each week by leveraging customized testing protocols and Salus’s sophisticated digital COVID-19 free biosphere. From the hundreds of tests conducted, the positivity rate decreased each week from 6% to 3.9% to 1.1% to 0%; a true testament to how quickly the Salus platform was able to identify positive individuals and notify League management in real-time.
Due to the Salus safety biosphere and controlled environment, the A7FL was able to maintain partnerships with advertisers and other investors while providing football fans with a live game showcasing players’ talent. The integration of Salus into the tournament led to safe environments for all involved and allowed the organization to successfully be the first semi-professional football league back in action.
“This tournament would’ve never been possible in the current state of sports if it weren’t for OZ and their Salus solution.”
– Sener Korkusuz, A7FL CEO and Co-Founder
“Salus really is a game-changer in terms of a fully integrated solution that can be used by multiple event stakeholders to track and test people in the most efficient manner possible”
– Peter Antevy MD, Emergency Medicine Physician, President of C3MD, and COVID-19 testing researcher