One of the many concerns about conducting a contact sport such as football during the coronavirus pandemic involves players, particularly those who line up across from each other ahead of plays, expelling air and droplets through standard facemasks and onto opponents.
The NFL hopes to have a solution to this issue before games begin.
As explained by ESPN, NFL Players Association medical director Thom Mayer said on Monday's The Adam Schefter Podcast that new facemasks may require surgical or N95 material:
"Back in early March, I had suggested that we should consider novel and emerging ways to handle the helmets and the facemasks and the spread of the virus," Mayer said. "And these guys, the bioengineers that we use and that the league uses -- Oakley, as you may or may not know, does all the face visors for the league under contract -- these guys got the bit between their teeth."
Mayer added that issues such as what happens if modified facemasks fog up during games are being addressed. He also explained that he would encourage players to embrace social-distancing protocols while off the field, including when on the sidelines during games.
During Bundesliga matches that occurred over the weekend and on Monday, substitutes sat at least several feet away from each other and wore masks. Footballers were also encouraged to avoid celebratory high-fives and hugs:
As things stand on May 18, the NFL plans to begin the 2020 regular season on Thursday, September 10, when the Houston Texans play the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions.
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