With NFL training camps set to start at the end of the month, the league believes it is closer to one answer when it comes to player safety amid the coronavirus pandemic: face shields for the players’ helmets.
The NFL and the players’ union agreed to several protocols in a 42-page document last week, including team travel, media and treatment response. They have also updated the facilities protocol, specifically addressing training camp, using recommendations from a joint committee of doctors, trainers and strength coaches.
However, the two sides haven’t agreed on testing and screening protocols for the coronavirus.
One idea suggested by the union’s medical director, Dr. Thom Mayer, to help control the spread of the virus was to have players wear face masks. The league’s engineers and a sports equipment company tested prototypes for the masks, but players shot it down.
The face shield was designed by Oakley, which already provides visors for the players.
Dr. Jeff Crandall, chairman of the NFL’s Engineering Committee, said quote - “Clear plastic with slits or holes in it that block any direct path of a droplet, but do promote air flow, communication, soundwaves.”
With training camps scheduled to start in a couple of weeks, there’s still no timeline for the helmets with face shields to make their debut.