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Sporting Good Industry Teams Up to Fight COVID-19

Photo courtesy of Fanatics

The sporting industry collaborates to make life saving equipment.

With the Coronavirus raging on into April 2020, the information being passed around seems to change day to day. One thing that has remained constant since the virus began to spread is the need for basic medical supplies such as masks, breathing assistance equipment, and other personal protective equipment for medical personnel. This growing shortage in supplies combined with all sports being on hold caused major sporting goods companies and manufacturers, that were once competitors in the market, to come together and find a way to help.

In the U.S., sporting goods companies like Bauer, and its sister companies Cascade and Maverik—both of which normally produce hockey and lacrosse equipment—are repurposing their facilities to turn out plastic face shields to be worn by nurses and doctors. Bauer CEO of Hockey Equipment Ed Kinnaly said he was approached by one of his engineers last month with the idea, they threw together a design and shortly after, production was in process. So far Bauer has begun by producing 3,000 units per week at each of its locations but hopes to be able to raise production to 70,000 units per week once employees become more familiar with the production process.

Bauer isn’t alone in their attempt to contribute to the desperate need of supplies. In Lawerence, Massachusetts, the well-known shoe manufacturer New Balance has consulted with experts at Harvard and M.I.T. to develop N95 cloth face masks, which block 95 percent of airborne particles larger than .3 microns to be produced and distributed to hospitals and clinics nationwide.

“I’m super proud of this team,” said Executive Vice President of New Balance, Dave Wheeler. “They’ve put in 18-to 20-hour days solely because the passion is there to fight the battle, and we have the capability.”

While companies are helping produce gear that protects medical personnel, across the Atlantic countries such as Italy, Spain, and Germany have some of the highest rates of infected citizens. The shortage in supplies goes beyond masks for doctors and nurses. There is a massive shortage in continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machines and ventilators which are crucial and to the most severely infected the only thing between life and death. Throughout Europe the Formula One racing teams such as, Haas, McLaren and Red Bull which are most known for engineering and designing of racecars are joining forces and developing ventilators and CPAP machines to be distributed. Tim Baker, former Formula One engineer previously designed engines for Jordan Racing team, met and consulted with Mercedes-AMG Petronas, a leading Formula One team based in Britain. They worked relentlessly overnight on a new design for CPAP machines that could be rapidly produced by their teams. The final product is roughly the size of shoebox with about 800 parts, and dramatically less complex than a Formula One car.

Many sports are built around teamwork and working together towards a single goal. Such has been exemplified as so companies across the world working together to help fight the coronavirus any way they can.

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