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An infectious disease expert says NHL players shouldn't agree to a return to play before making sure the league will cover costs for any long-term medical issues that arise if they contract COVID-19.
"Young athletes do not think about this stuff because think they are invincible, but every so often we see young, healthy people get very bad diseases, and this is no different," said Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, according to TSN's Rick Westhead.
Dr. Morris urged players to ensure teams and the league are committed to covering the costs of any medical care including rehabilitation, hospitalization, prescriptions, and counseling; according to Morris, patients on ventilators can later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It would be unusual for a healthy young athlete to get really sick with COVID and wind up in the ICU, but, hey, somebody wins the lottery, right?" he said. He added: "(Players) should want their health care and income insured, seeing that they are taking an additional risk, especially if residing in the U.S."
The NHLPA agreed Friday to further talks with the NHL regarding a potential return featuring a 24-team playoff format. Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is looking at eight or nine locations that could serve as hub cities to host games.
To this point, eight players - five from the Ottawa Senators and three from the Colorado Avalanche - have contracted and recovered from COVID-19.