the nfl is testing face masks that include n95 filters. it will be interesting if they have any success, as n95 masks for medical purposes are worn tightly, make it a little harder to breath, and become uncomfortably warm pretty fast. if they do have some success, i imaging their prototype could make it down to the college level:
When the NFL starts up, the novel coronavirus pandemic is going to dictate changes, and those could include the addition of surgical or N95 material to the face masks on players’ helmets.
The NFL and Oakley, the sports equipment company, are testing prototypes, and Dr. Thom Mayer, the NFL Players Association’s medical director, said “there will probably be a recommendation” to use modified masks.
The tight-fitting N95 respirator mask is the most effective and filters at least 95 percent of large and small airborne particles, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A surgical mask is fluid resistant and offers protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids in addition to protecting others from the wearer’s respiratory emissions, the CDC says.
“Back in early March, I had suggested that we should consider novel and emerging ways to handle the helmets and the face masks and the spread of the virus,” Mayer said on The Adam Schefter Podcast. “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.”
Protecting players from one another, as they play a sport in which they cannot help but breathe on and touch one another, is not a simple task. Mayer said it’s possible that a player’s entire face mask could be covered. Some of the possibilities are, Mayer admitted, an unusual sight.
“They’ve got some prototypes. They’re doing really good work,” he said. “Some of them, when you first look at them, you think, ‘Gosh, no’ [because] … you’re just not used to seeing it. But they’re looking at every issue you can imagine, including when it fogs up. What do we do with that? But these guys are used to dealing with this stuff [designing eyeglasses for use by military members].”
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The NFL faces big-picture issues, like state-by-state issues that complicate matters and a schedule that must allow for possible adjustment, as well as granular details. Major League Baseball, for instance, has sent a proposal to the players union that covers restrictions on things like high-fives and spitting.
When you stop and think about all the details of a football game — the number of times players put on and remove helmets, communal hydration sources, huddling and conferring on the sideline to strategize — it’s a daunting prospect. In the NFL and other sports, it will be important to identify players who are at higher risk.
“For a player like that, getting the helmet off, putting a mask on right afterward, maintaining social distancing when not in the field as much as possible, using single-use hydration — whether water, Gatorade, whatever it might be — I mean, just every little detail,” Mayer said.
NFL coaches, known for sleeping in their offices, are embracing the work-from-home life
“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."
The NFL began allowing teams to reopen their facilities Tuesday as long as they comply with state and local guidelines and with health and safety protocols previously outlined by the league. Coaches and most players are not permitted to be in the facilities during this initial phase of reopening.
Protocols for teams include temperature checks of employees and visitors, social-distancing measures within offices, the use of face coverings and the appointment by each team of an infection control officer. A team can have no more than half its staff (up to 75 people) in a facility during this phase of reopening.
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