CFL could implement full mask policy to limit contact between players

One of the CFL’s potential strategies to combat COVID-19 has been unmasked.

The league is considering the implementation of a full mask policy if the 2020 season goes ahead, as per one of its players. The extra visor protection could help limit contact between players, preventing sweat, sneezes, and coughs from spreading beyond the helmet.

The photographed helmets from Schutt (above) represent just one style of masks that are available. Other vendors have created similar products that could help prevent the spread of bodily fluids on the football field.

There are a number of concerns regarding the feasibility of contact sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing is an effective strategy to combat the spread of the virus, but obviously cannot be implemented in sports like football, basketball or hockey.

Playing football in a full mask may be impractical. Some players have concerns about humidity and air flow in hot weather and the risk of condensation or fog in cool weather.

Logistics aside, full masks could provide extra protection to help maintain the health of players. The NFL is currently conducting research regarding the usage of full masks and the CFL would be wise to piggyback off the results.

“They’ve got some prototypes. They’re doing really good work. Some of them, when you first look at them, you think, ‘Gosh, no’ ’cause you’re not used to seeing it,” Thom Mayer, the NFLPA’s medical director, told The Adam Schefter Podcast.

“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.”

The CFL needs to explore every avenue if the league hopes to play games in 2020. If it means saving the season, requiring players wear full masks on the field would be a small price to pay.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.