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NFL Explores Modified Face Masks for Player Helmets

The medical director for the NFL Players Association told ESPN's Adam Schefter during a podcast that NFL engineers and Oakley are working on prototypes of new helmets and facemasks to protect players from the coronavirus when the league returns to the field.

NFL players could be sporting helmets with full-cover face masks unlike anything fans have ever seen before in the upcoming season.

Thom Mayer, medical director for the NFL Players Association, told ESPN's Adam Shefter that NFL engineers and Oakley are working together to develop new face masks in an effort to protect players from the coronavirus. Mayer said it is a possibility that the face mask could be modified to include surgical or N95 material, even quipping that if it works he wants them to be called "Mayer Masks." He doesn't know yet just what the modified masks will look like, however.

"They've got some prototypes. They're doing really good work. Some of them, when you first look at them you think, 'gosh, no,' because you're not used to seeing it. You're just not used to seeing it," Mayer said this week during The Adam Shefter Podcast. "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 ... so you know, if you can dream it, you can do it. I think that's an old Walt Disney saying, but it certainly applies here."

Mayer also noted that Oakley makes "bomb proof" eyeglasses for the military that are designed to avoid fogging up.

"It's realistic to think that the players this year, their face masks could be fully covered? That's a viable, discussed alterantive for the upcoming season, correct?" Shefter asked.

"Yep," Mayer said.

"That'd be something," Shefter said.

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