New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder became the latest National Football League (NFL) player to opt out of the season on Wednesday, citing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
Several players have chosen to miss the campaign as NFL training camps opened across the country this week, with the season scheduled to start on Sept. 10.
Solder said he was choosing not to play because of concern for his family, including his son who is battling cancer.
“For us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football,” the two-time Super Bowl winner wrote on Twitter. “We fully recognize that being able to make a decision like this is a privilege.”
Solder himself survived testicular cancer after being diagnosed in 2014.
Twenty-five other players - including six members of the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots - had opted out of the season as of Tuesday, according to an ESPN report here
Three-time Super Bowl champion Dont’a Hightower, a linebacker with the Patriots, said in a social media post that opting out for the season was “the best decision for my family at this time”.
With all pre-season games cancelled, the NFL said it was adopting safety procedures designed to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Monday that players must submit to daily testing as he acknowledged the outbreak would continue to be a major challenge for the foreseeable future.
U.S. coronavirus deaths surpassed 150,000 on Wednesday, with cases spiking in states across the country.