Why Kylian Mbappe is wearing a mask at Euro 2024: Broken nose requires protective face cover for France forward

France star Kylian Mbappe was already a man in the spotlight, but now he’s grabbed the headlines for an entirely new reason after a painful injury at Euro 2024.

Mbappe feared missing some time at the tournament after the 25-year-old forward suffered a broken nose in an aerial collision with Austria defender Kevin Danso in France’s opening Group D match.

French Football Federation president Philippe Diallo has confirmed that Mbappe’s time at the European Championship will continue, although he will need to take precautions.

“Mbappe having his tournament taken away from him is not the case,” Diallo said in a press conference the morning after the injury occurred.

So how will the France star return to the pitch such a short time after suffering such a nasty injury?

It was confirmed by the FFF, and even Mbappe himself in the immediate aftermath of suffering the injury, that he will need to wear a protective face mask. The Sporting News brings you all you need to know on why he will wear the mask, what it’s for and what other football players have been spotted sporting the same look in recent years.

MORE: Get the latest updates on when Kylian Mbappe will return to the field for France

Why will Kylian Mbappe have to wear a mask?

To protect his broken nose from further re-injury, Kylian Mbappe will be wearing a protective face mask when he returns to the pitch for France at Euro 2024.

This will help Mbappe be protected should he suffer another blow to the same area, which would not only be incredibly painful but also could cause long-term damage.

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Kylian Mbappe mask: Star wears French tricolore in training

Images appeared on June 20 of Mbappe wearing a mask for the first time as France trained ahead of their group game against the Netherlands.

The forward was seen sporting the red, white and blue of the French flag. UEFA rules stipulate he would have to wear a plain mask if he takes to the field sporting one. Mbappe was named among the substitutes to face the Dutch.

How does a mask help to play soccer?

Made from polycarbonate materials, the masks help players who suffer facial injuries to get back on the pitch safely without needing to be fully healed.

Typical injuries such as muscle strains and broken bones are not only painful but also directly affect a player’s ability to perform, and therefore must heal fully before that individual can return to the pitch and be themselves.

However, other injuries such as a broken nose, orbital fractures or other bumps and bruises to the face do not directly affect performance. Therefore, it would feel unnecessary for the individual to remain sidelined while it fully heals.

The mask, therefore, helps keep a player protected from re-injury to the same spot should they experience another blunt force trauma to the area, which is the greatest risk of returning before and injury such as a broken nose has fully healed. Since the injury will not affect his ability to play football, he can see the field so long as he has healed enough that the pain does not affect performance and the mask is sufficient to protect the injury.

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Notable players to wear masks in soccer

Several football players have worn protective face masks in the recent past.

A number of them were visible at the 2022 World Cup or other major tournaments, worn by notable players like young Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol, Tottenham star Heung-Min Son and Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.

Gvardiol wore his at the 2022 World Cup after suffering a broken nose, similar to Mbappe, in a collision with a club teammate at RB Leipzig before the FIFA tournament.

Son was in the news for his face protection after a collision with Marseille defender Chancel Mbemba in a Champions League match. The Spurs forward noted publicly that he struggled to see the ball through the mask, but he wore it anyway because “my parents, my friends, my family watching back in South Korea are all worried. Obviously, it’s a risk if someone hits me again.”

Osimhen, however, felt the opposite. The Napoli striker initially started wearing the mask in 2021 after a nasty clash of heads with Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar that required an operation, with 18 screws and a plate inserted into his face. “Fortunately, some factors helped us and the eye was able to go back into its socket,” said the plastic surgeon who assisted with the operation.

Napoli team doctor Roberto Ruggiero said this past February that while Osimhen has long since healed, he still wears the protective covering because it gives him a sense of security.

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