As NFL facemasks continue to get crazier and scarier looking, at least one player has a valid medical reason to sport one. Chris Canty was granted a medical exemption last year, along with three other players, that enabled him to wear a special facemask that features horizontal and vertical bars and a dark visor.
In 2005 Canty was struck in the eye with a beer bottle after a fight broke out at a bar, causing a detached retina that required emergency surgery to save his eyesight. Teams were informed this week that the league will continue to prohibit oversized and non-standard facemasks for safety reasons, according to Aaron Wilson at the Baltimore Sun.
Canty, who has worn the mask since his rookie season, is adamant that he can’t play without it, stating “No eye shield and custom mask means I can’t play. Eye would be at risk.”
Canty shouldn’t have a problem gaining another exception, so that much is a non issue. The league claims that medical studies point to the masks being a safety issue in themselves, which is rather interesting. Like most entertaining changes that sweep the league (remember goal post dunking and touchdown celebrations?), the league is moving swiftly to eliminate comically big and scary looking facemasks as well.