NFL facemasks may take on a whole new appearance this season

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Posted on: May 19, 2020 5:36 pm EDT

Protective gear might include mandatory surgical masks to avoid causing a revival of COVID-19

With the recommended new safety and sanitation measures that will be implemented in every situation that involves a gathering of people, the NFL has been exploring ways to adapt part of its gear. Engineers from the NFL, alongside experts from sports equipment company Oakley, are already testing some prototypes of new facemasks for the teams. This new gear might be made with surgical or N95 material, according to what the NFL Players Association’s medical director said on Monday.

Thom Mayer spoke yesterday on The Adam Schefter Podcast, where he said that “there will probably be a recommendation” that the NFL teams use these masks to protect their players from the spreading of the coronavirus once the league is back on the action. “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.”

There are no details yet about the modifications that these masks might have nor how would they look. However, Mayer said that one thing that sounds realistic now is a mask designed to cover a player’s entire face mask. “They’ve got some prototypes. They’re doing really good work,” he 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.”