It’s no secret that the NFL will have many new health and safety regulations in place whenever the league does get the green light to begin operations for the 2020 season. While we’ve heard plenty of ideas when it comes to safety regulations for fans, there will surely be some new rules in place regarding the health and safety of the players on the field as well and according to a new report, it may even mean a slight modification to helmets.
Thom Mayer, the NFL Players Association’s medical director, joined The Adam Schefter Podcast and shared that Oakley, who is under contract to make the league’s visors, are testing prototypes of modified face masks that may contain surgical or N95 material. He suggested that “there will probably be a recommendation” that the NFL uses such masks to protect players from the virus.
With the new face masks still in the prototype face, Mayer is still unsure what they’ll exactly look like, but he did say it’s realistic to think these new designs could cover a player’s entire face mask. What it sounds like is a face mask or a somewhat modified version of a visor placed either just underneath or covering the actual helmet’s face mask, which would certainly be interesting.
“They’ve got some prototypes. They’re doing really good work,” Mayer said. “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 also emphasized the point that players who may have higher risk factors should be aware of doing everything possible to keep both themselves and others around them safe by taking part in other safety measures.
“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.
Expect to see more details about these particular face masks and other steps the NFL will be taking to keep all involved safe over the coming weeks.