Oakley Mouth Shield will limit virus spread, if players will wear it

AP

Despite testing and social distancing and anything else done before or after games, the playing of football will entail multiple men in close proximity for three hours at a time. And so the league wants to try to keep them safe when on the field.

One way to do that comes from a device developed by Oakley and distributed to the NFL’s 32 teams. Via Tim McManus of ESPN.com, the Oakley Mouth Shield was designed by doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The NFLPA opposes mandatory use of a face shield. Last week, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said on the #PFTPM podcast that, after experimenting briefly with a visor in 2012, he will not wear a shield that covers his mouth.

“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.”

The mouth shield has airways and openings, but it supposedly prevents the direct transmission of droplets that may carry the virus.

“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,” NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer told McManus. “I think it will be when we [have more players testing them].”

The first step will be for the league and the union to reach agreement on whether and to what extent the mouth shield will be mandatory. If the NFL chooses to make it mandatory over the NFLPA’s objection, the NFLPA would have to accept it in the same way that the NFLPA accepts the fact that only certain helmets can be used, only certain face masks can be used, knee pads must be worn, etc.

27 responses to “Oakley Mouth Shield will limit virus spread, if players will wear it

  1. 3…2…1….First player, who likely hasn’t even used it, to say they can’t perform or play using the plastic guard because it obstructs airflow.

  2. Oakley should next re-invent the stretcher for taking the players with heat stroke off the field. Watt knows what he is talking about. Houston is experiencing heat index levels around 110. It is mid-80s at midnight. Not safe.

  3. So explain to me again why JJ Watt was suffocating when wearing a visor — does he breathe through his eyes like Fernando Valenzuela?

  4. When will the NFLPA offer intellectually honest dialogue aimed at reaching an end goal? No matter what ideas, solutions, or accommodations are offered….. these guys always complain and say it isn’t enough.

  5. It should be mandatory. Players will quickly get used to it. Watt must not really want to play.

  6. So dont play then JJ. You arent special. Remember getting beatdown and pummeled by Eric Fisher in the playoffs until you surrendered?
    Go away, you are way overrated, and nobody cares if you threaten to not play

  7. It doesn’t really look that ridiculous or unreasonable. I imagine some players will find it “restrictive” or have some kind of objection to it, though.
    A lot of players went kicking & screaming when first told to wear facemasks on helmets. I think once they get into the flow of a game, they won’t even think about it.

  8. Remember when Dr. Fauci said the NFL is the prime sport for spread and i said no…the mNFL is the prime sport to actually be able to provide a mask of some kind?

    Yeah. And am guessing this is only the beginning…if this pandemic lingers there will be more development.

    I had it right.

  9. JJ has announced his reason for not playing earlier than usual.

  10. maise says: “The NFLPA would object to the league protecting players?”
    ————————

    Um, what? IN THE ARTICLE: “the Oakley Mouth Shield was designed by doctors and engineers from the NFL and NFL Players Association”. The NFLPA had input in the design…

  11. The only way it works is to make it mandatory and everyone experiences the same “limitation” and no one gets an advantage.

  12. Credit to the NFL for trying to find a solution. My bet, the NFLPA will use this to argue for reduced practice time.

    I support mask wearing. If players support mask wearing to help the public reduce virus spread, then they should put the Oakley shield where your mouth is.

  13. They take off their helmets on the sidelines, hard to see this making much difference but any difference is welcome I guess.

  14. coachmike327 says:
    July 13, 2020 at 2:04 pm
    Oakley should next re-invent the stretcher for taking the players with heat stroke off the field. Watt knows what he is talking about. Houston is experiencing heat index levels around 110. It is mid-80s at midnight. Not safe.

    *******************************************************************************

    If they’re not safe wearing it and they’re not safe not wearing it, probably another reason not to expect football anytime soon.

  15. One of the positive benefits of installing face shields: they will lessen the overall number of facemask penalties.

  16. The part I can’t get over is how Watt said he wouldn’t even consider wearing a shield to protect himself and others but then in the same interview said he didn’t think the NFL should rush into getting camps going for fear of it not being safe. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.

  17. J.J. Watt is just looking for another excuse to stay off the field. I’m beginning to think he’s faking all those injuries. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Just shut up and play football.

  18. He’ll get injured installing the thing in his helmet.

    And kudos to Oakley for moving so quickly on offering a, at a minimum perceived, “solution” to a problem. That quick pivot is going to reap big rewards, especially if they can lock up the patent somehow.

  19. The old saying: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You might not like a full face shield, but it will help cut down on aerosol/droplet spread. So it’s good but not perfect, just like masks. Players have to decide whether they want to play football or not. If the answer is yes, there are going to have to be precautions that they’re not too happy with. I totally understand a player saying he thinks it’s too risky to play, period. But the ones who claim they want to play but whine about precautions are just jerks.

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