The NFL hasn't revealed many details toward how it will tackle the coronavirus pandemic this season, but believes it has a found something that will help protect its players during games.
Oakley and the league unveiled face shields for players' helmets that were specifically designed to prevent the spread of the virus as players come in close contact with each other.
"Just like any face shield or face mask for that matter, you're thinking about the aerosolization of droplets and the spread of it via that mechanism, which is starting to be recognized as the more important mode of transmission," said NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills, via the Associated Press. "From the start, the NFL Players Association, their medical advisers, their engineers have been engaged with us. We've also had dialogue with players along the way trying to look at early prototypes and developments."
Renee Anderson, the executive vice president of NFL partnerships, said well over 700 players used Oakley visors last year, which would provide a smooth transition to the face shield provided by the same company. The NFL also tested prototypes for face masks, but players shot the proposal down.
"The player feedback was integral in coming up with this design," said Dr. Jeff Crandall, chairman of the NFL's Engineering Committee. "(Oakley) would start with this design and say: 'Do you like this one better or this one? How's your field of view on this one?'
"At the end, they did have feedback from players. This was their choice for the players they've evaluated so far. I think each player is going to have an evaluation for themselves in terms of exactly how they favor one concept versus another."
Even with the face shields in place, there is no set date for the shields to make their debut, though training camp is less than two weeks away. Sills mentioned the NFL "would love to have them rolled out by the time camp starts" and to "have them on board from the get-go."
The NFL will have to take more measures to ensure player safety in 2020, but this is a step in the right direction.