BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The National Football League unveiled its design for a new mouth shield that can be attached to players’ helmets in order to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus during games this fall.
The shield was designed in collaboration with doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFLPA and will be distributed to all 32 teams during the course of the next week. Players will then have a chance to “test drive” the new shield to get a feel for it. In the reveal, the NFL used the Baltimore Ravens helmet as a model.
As of now, there isn’t a mandate to wear the shield on the field, but the league’s medical experts are advocating for its use.
“That’s certainly what we’re going to encourage,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer to ESPN. “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.”
According to the ESPN report, the design uses the same technology that Oakley has put in place for its visors and lenses used by skiers, military personnel and NFL players. From ESPN:
“Plastic sheets extend down and attach to the face guard. There are airways and openings on the mouth shield but none that allow the direct transmission of droplets, according to the chair of the NFL’s engineering committee, Dr. Jeff Crandall.”
The shield’s reveal comes in the wake of Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt telling ProFootballTalk earlier this offseason that he is against wearing a face shield. But, the design has reportedly been tested out already by the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers and the current design is a result of player feedback.