The NFL on Monday revealed the Oakley Mouth Shield, a built-in helmet guard, in an attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, the Associated Press reported.
The shield was designed by doctors and engineers from the NFL and the NFL Players Association to help combat the spread of the virus when the players are on the field during the 2020 season, ESPN reported. All 32 teams will receive the mouth shields by next week for a test drive.
Football is considered a close contact sport and has a higher risk for spreading the virus.
Both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers have already received the mouth shields since they’re close to the Oakley Prizm Lens Technology base, ESPN reported.
Not all players are in favor of the mask. Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt has said that he’s against wearing the face shield.
“My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet,” Watt told ProFootballTalk. “I was like, ‘It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.’ I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, ‘Take this sucker off -- I’m gonna die out here.’ ... So now you’re gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don’t think you’re gonna see me on the field.”
Dr. Thom Mayer, a medical director for the NFLPA, told ESPN that the two biggest concerns have been visibility and the ability to breathe.
“We’ve only had it on a few players — we have 2,500 players in the league — but I was surprised that ... claustrophobia has not been an issue yet,” he said. “I think it will be when we [have more players testing them].”
ESPN reports that the current design is based on player feedback and Oakley conducting internal testing.