Phillies Employees Participate in COVID-19 Antibody Study

Stadium staff man the Third Base Gate (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)
Stadium staff man the Third Base Gate (Photo by Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images) /

Hundreds of Phillies employees are reportedly taking part in a nationwide study to help researchers better understand antibodies that fight COVID-19.

Representatives from just about every aspect of Major League Baseball, including as many as 300 employees of the Philadelphia Phillies, are coming together to help better understand COVID-19 and its spread.

Phillies employees, among as many as 10,000 total from MLB, have recently volunteered to participate in a nationwide sero-prevalence study “to help researchers determine how widespread coronavirus has become in major metropolitan areas,” according to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The league’s involvement of the quick blood test screening for coronavirus antibodies is not aimed to expedite its return, rather to “serve a greater good.”

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Nearly all of MLB’s teams have agreed to participate in the study, being conducted by researchers from Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory. The researchers sought MLB employees, as they represent a “wide spectrum of people from all regions of the country.”

“You have people all over the country, from different socioeconomic backgrounds with different ethnic backgrounds and different ages,” NFL Network reporter James Palmer said Wednesday on 97.5 The Fanatic. “It was a good group that wanted to be a part of it.”

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Palmer is the son of Phillies Director of Public Affairs Scott Palmer, who was among the team’s employees to participate. “If anybody knows [Scott] personally, it was a no-brainer for him to say, ‘Yeah, I will be one of the people to do it,” said James, whose dad said the test “could not have been easier.”

According to Scott, his dad went to Citizens Bank Park, wearing a mask, to pick up his test. He filled out forms and provided information about himself, such as any symptoms he has had and the extent of his isolation practices.

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Then, the test is brought home, requiring only the taker to painlessly prick their finger on a small wand. “You put a few small blood drops on the test, put two small solution drops in another opening on the test kit and almost instantly you see the test react,” James tweeted. Picture how a thermometer goes up and there are two small indicators on the test and you see from those indicators if you have antibodies immediately. Then you take a picture of your test and your ID and email it back in to the organization for them to send it off to Stanford.”

According to James, the Phillies are one of the organizations that had quite a few people volunteer compared to some of the [others], albeit his dad was not entirely sure how many players took part. The tests were reportedly created solely for this study and are not meant for potentially ill community members.

Growing antibody studies, such as this one, is the next step in getting society back to some sense of normalcy.

“The MLB season is on hold because of the health crisis,” NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury writes. “League officials hope to be able to commence a season in some form in the coming weeks or months and plans for such are being made. But MLB officials have cautioned they will not move forward with any of those plans without first receiving a go-ahead from public health experts and government officials.”

For now, MLB remains on hold, but its participation in this study, with employees willing to volunteer, shows their commitment for public health.