NFL players may get special helmets designed to ward off COVID-19
NEW ORLEANS - NFL players may be tough, but even they need protection from COVID-19 and when they return to the field for the 2020 season there's a chance they'll be wearing special helmets, designed to protect them from the virus that seems to have taken the world hostage since the start of the year.
Mayer said some prototypes include a form of surgical or N95 mask material to help limit the virus' spread on-field.
"They’re doing really good work. Some of them, when you first look at them you would think, ‘gosh’ because you’re not used to seeing it," Mayer said.
The prototypes are being developed by Oakley, the company already under contract to create the visors used by NFL players.
"They’re looking at every issue you can imagine out of them, including when it fogs up, what do we do with that," he said. "These guys are used to dealing with this stuff."
Mayer added that it's still unclear what, if any, modifications to NFL helmets might look like, but it's possible the entire facemask could be covered with some kind of material.
He said he first put out the idea in March that "new and emerging" ways to handle the mitigation of coronavirus transmission be considered. Those plans would also include social distancing, he said.
"Getting the helmet off, putting a mask on right afterwards, maintaining social distancing when not on the field as much as possible, using single-use hydration – whether water, Gatorade, whatever it might be," will all be vital aspects, Mayer said, for an NFL return to action.
"Just every little detail for 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," he said.
For the New Orleans Saints, the disastrous effects of the virus hit close to home.
A total of 925 people in Orleans and Jefferson Parish have died due to coronavirus-related complications.
As players return to the field, NFL officials will take every measure necessary to keep them safe and healthy.
In an April interview with NNPA Newswire, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said, “The commissioner and all of us remain completely aware of the reality of what’s going on.”
The organization is not only taking steps to protect its players, but has made substantial donations to COVID-19 relief efforts.
The NFL announced its 2020 schedules on May 7, with the first week of its preseason slate kicking off on Aug. 6.
The Saints' first preseason game is scheduled on Aug. 23, on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers.