Bright: New face shields not required for football; NFHS has set considerations

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

The football season is on the horizon, and some manufacturers have created face guards for football helmets specific to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The NFHS, in conference with doctors on the national Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, released a document this month about rules considerations for the 2020 season as it relates to COVID-19. Some of the recommendations are specific to face coverings in football.

The document states that "cloth face coverings are permissible." It further states that plastic face shields are not permissible — "unless integrated into the face mask and attached to the helmet and clear without the presence of any tint."

These newly marketed face shields meeting the above criteria (fully integrated into the face mask, attached to the helmet, clear with no tint) are approved by the NFHS, but are not mandated to be used at this time.

If these items do become mandated, CHSAA member schools will hear from our office to confirm.

While we all look forward to another great CHSAA football season, the safety of participants, coaches, and officials are at the forefront of discussions. As with any new product to market, there is excitement and a rush to purchase by many.

At this time, these items are not mandated at the national level from the NFHS, nor are they mandated at the state level by the CHSAA.

Personally, with limited data as to the extent these items successfully decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets, I would caution against a potential false sense of security these may provide.