The NFL new helmets have arrived! Well, almost. The NFL season is fast approaching and with the coronavirus still spreading across the country, the league is trying to ensure that its players stay healthy and safe while playing this season.
On Monday, the NFL unveiled the new Oakley Mouth Shield. A product designed by Oakley. In collaboration with doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus on the field of play, is expected to be distributed to all 32 teams over the next week, when it will receive a test drive on a much larger scale than it has gotten to date.
“That’s certainly what we’re going to encourage,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “And we hope that we’re going to land on a product design. That’s something that everyone would want to wear, because they’ll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance.”
The NFLPA’s medical director Dr. Thom Mayer said the mouth guard has already been distributed to the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. It has also been sent to various player representatives and equipment managers for feedback.
New NFL New Helmets for Covid19
According to Mayer, the two biggest concerns to date have been visibility and breathability. How can these be fixed?
“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].”
While the league is hoping players will wear the mouth guards for health reasons, not all players seem to be fans. Huston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is one of the players that likely won’t wear the mask when the season begins.
“My second year in the league I thought it’d be cool, I put a visor on my helmet,” Watt said. “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.”