Could NFL require players to wear masks during games?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NFL is hard at work trying to figure out ways to best protect players while they are on the field.

Could a new type of mask that helps protect against respiratory-transmitted illnesses be something that NFL players wear this fall?

While speaking on the Adam Schefter podcast, NFL Players Association medical director Dr. Thom Mayer revealed that some modified facemasks that could help to protect players are already being worked on.

“Back in early March, I suggested ways to handle the helmets and the facemasks ... the league’s bioengineers are testing prototypes with Oakley. They’re looking at every issue, including when masks fog up,” Mayer said.

It is not clear right now what those new facemasks could look like or if they will be on the field this fall but if the facemasks do become a reality it may take fans some time to get used to seeing them

“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.”

While a modified facemask wouldn’t protect players completely from contracting the virus, it could help. But Mayer is recommending players take other precautions as well.

“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," Mayer 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.”

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