Once the National Football League returns to regular action this fall, the players may be outfitted with face masks that will protect them and other NFL personnel from spreading the coronavirus, according to ESPN.
NFL Players Association’s medical director Thom Mayer appeared on The Adam Schefter Podcast last week to discuss some of the things the NFL is doing to increase safety for the players amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Back in early March, I had suggested that we should consider novel and emerging ways to handle the helmets and the face masks and the spread of the virus,” Mayer said. “And these guys, the bioengineers that we use and that the league uses—Oakley, as you may or may not know, does all the face visors for the league under contract—these guys got the bit between their teeth.”
NFL engineers and Oakley are working with each other to come up with prototypes that could be used for the upcoming 2020 football season.
“They’ve got some prototypes. They’re doing really good work. Some of them, when you first look at them, you think, ‘Gosh, no’ ’cause you’re not used to seeing it. You’re just not used to seeing it. But they’re looking at every issue you can imagine, including when it fogs up. What do we do with that? But these guys are used to dealing with this stuff,” Mayer said on the ESPN podcast.
Oakley previously designed durable eyeglasses that don’t fog up for use by the military, Mayer said.
“For a player like that, getting the helmet off, putting a mask on right afterward, maintaining social distancing when not in the field as much as possible, using single-use hydration—whether water, Gatorade, whatever it might be— I mean, just every little detail,” he said.
“Anybody who’s got a risk, I would advise them to be zealous, religious, and, frankly, almost maniacally committed to minimizing the chance of spreading the virus.”
There’s a great possibility that once the season starts, there will be no fans in attendance at the stadiums due to the coronavirus.