Over the past few weeks you’ve definitely seen a number of people wearing masks, and you may even be one of them. It is the latest effort by many health officials and government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
That got the NFL Players Association’s medical director, Thom Mayer, thinking about how that could be translated to football and specifically its helmets.
"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 on The Adam Schefter Podcast. “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.”
Mayer notes that the process hasn't been finished yet. There are still plenty of questions of how and if they will be able to pull it off without impacting the quality of play on the field. However, it seems Oakley has given him a pretty wide array of options from what he has said.
"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.”
There still hasn't been anything released to the public regarding these helmets aside from Mayer's vague description.
The fogging visors shouldn't be a huge hurdle for Oakley as they have reportedly already designed glasses that don't fog for the army.
There are still plenty of questions regarding how well players may be able to breathe through these masks. As anyone who has worn one knows, they aren't exactly made for you to run a marathon in.
It seems like a novel idea, and it seems like it is one step in many that the NFL is looking at to make sure players and their families will be safe if football resumes under these conditions. When/if the NFL reveals these helmets. It will surely be met with criticism for look alone, but it is just another snapshot we will look back to one day about this these times.
At least the NFL is trying to get back. No matter how strange it will look.