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NFL testing modified masks for players next season

Modified versions of the same type of N95 face mask that the New England Patriots' airplane brought from China to Boston last month might be worn by NFL players next season to combat coronavirus, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer says - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP
Modified versions of the same type of N95 face mask that the New England Patriots' airplane brought from China to Boston last month might be worn by NFL players next season to combat coronavirus, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer says - Maddie Meyer / ©AFP

(AFP)

NFL players could wear modified facemasks next season, with league engineers and equipment maker Oakley already testing prototypes, according to NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer.

Speaking on ESPN’s The Adam Schefter Podcast, Mayer said: “there probably will be a recommendation” for players to use the face coverings to protect from coronavirus when the NFL season begins, now scheduled for September.

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“The league’s bioengineers are testing prototypes with Oakley,” Mayer said. “They’re looking at every issue, including when masks fog up.”

The masks being tested by Oakley, which makes visors for NFL helmets, could include N95 or surgical grade materials and could cover the full area behind a typical helmet face guard.

Mayer advised players with elevated risk factors to be extra cautious about such details as pulling helmets on and off on the sidelines, social distancing and keeping a personal hydration bottle.

“Just every little detail,” Mayer said. “Anybody who has 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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