)
Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

What it’s like taking the COVID-19 antibodies test in MLB program

Longtime local baseball scout Tom Zimmer says there’s a little blood, some waiting and the potential for lots of good.
Longtime Tampa Bay area resident and San Francisco Giants scout Tom Zimmer was happy to take the antibodies test and be part of the Major League Baseball-coordinated program.
Longtime Tampa Bay area resident and San Francisco Giants scout Tom Zimmer was happy to take the antibodies test and be part of the Major League Baseball-coordinated program. [ Courtesy Tom Zimmer ]
Published Apr. 17, 2020

Major League Baseball agreed to have 10,000 players, staff and family members across 27 teams voluntarily participate in a very sophisticated program designed to detect the prevalence of antibodies produced by those infected with COVID-19.

Taking part in the program — which is being coordinated by researchers at Stanford, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory — is quite simple.

Longtime Tampa Bay area resident Tom Zimmer, a 67-year-old baseball lifer (and son of Don Zimmer) who is in his final season as a scout for the Giants, took the test Wednesday — testing negative — and agreed to share photos and details via text.

The Major League Baseball test for COVID-19 antibodies was relatively simple to do, Tom Zimmer says.
The Major League Baseball test for COVID-19 antibodies was relatively simple to do, Tom Zimmer says. [ Courtesy Tom Zimmer ]

Taking the test

“Just prick your finger and drop a little blood with a tool they give you mixed with a couple of drops of some solution into this little measuring device. It runs through the device and you wait 10 minutes. There are three little sections where a red line shows up showing negative, or positive. I was negative. If you were positive in one or two sections, it means you could have been exposed but you have not had symptoms. So that could mean you have antibodies, which I would consider kind of a good thing?"

Giants scout Tom Zimmer says the COVID-19 antibodies test required only a little bit of blood and wasn't painful.
Giants scout Tom Zimmer says the COVID-19 antibodies test required only a little bit of blood and wasn't painful. [ Courtesy Tom Zimmer ]

What it felt like

“Nothing hurts. Like getting a little splinter out of your hand with a little pin needle."

What happens after seeing the result

“You take a picture on your cell phone and send it in with the individual code number they gave you and throw the test away.”

After taking the antibody test, Tom Zimmer took a photo of the results to send back to the testing group.
After taking the antibody test, Tom Zimmer took a photo of the results to send back to the testing group. [ Courtesy Tom Zimmer ]

What the results mean

“All I know is if you were positive they would be calling you to follow up with questions."

Benefit of knowing

“If they came out with these in the drug store, and they can’t cost anything to make, I would test myself every month till this goes away!"

The testing device from MLB is relatively small and easy to use, Tampa Bay area scout Tom Zimmer said.
The testing device from MLB is relatively small and easy to use, Tampa Bay area scout Tom Zimmer said. [ Courtesy Tom Zimmer ]
Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Taking part in the program

“I think it’s a great start to speed up any possible future treatment."

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

HAVE YOU LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO COVID-19?: Help us remember them

UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits

CONTRIBUTE TO THE SCRAPBOOK: Help us tell the story of life under coronavirus

BRIGHT SPOTS IN DARK TIMES: The world is hard right now, but there’s still good news out there

LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information, six days a week

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge