As the reality of our current situation with the coronavirus sets in, two organizations in intercollegiate athletics have partnered to help contribute one solution to a current problem. One of the most concerning developments with this pandemic is the need for protective gear, like facemasks, for healthcare workers. As has been reported in the news, healthcare workers use the N-95 mask which is a single use mask. But workers are re-using them because there aren’t enough replacements for their current supply. Making a fabric mask to go over the N-95 mask, which can then be rotated out and washed, will help provide additional personal and patient protection to these frontline heroes.
There are also many other essential employees – grocery store clerks, hardware store employees, restaurant workers – who could benefit from any available added protection (masks and gloves) for themselves and the public they continue to serve. These employees are helping everyone maintain the vital supplies needed for sheltering in place, while putting their own health at risk.
How Intercollegiate Athletics Can Help
Athletic equipment managers serve their respective athletic departments and teams with creative problem-solving – maintaining and making repairs to equipment daily. As they face the premature end of their seasons and academic years, the Athletic Equipment Manager’s Association (AEMA) has sent out the call to all association members to use their skills, ingenuity and sewing equipment to help in this crisis.
“When the idea of leveraging the expertise of AEMA members to support our communities came to my attention, my response was “ALL IN”,” said Clifton Perry, President of the AEMA. “Each of our institutions is embedded in the communities where we reside. Our teams are successful in part due to their unwavering support. This is a great use of the talents and time of AEMA members to benefit our local front-line responders during this crisis where every little bit we can each contribute will help.”
The AEMA sent a newsletter to all members and responses immediately came with offers to participate. Some examples:
- Dana Marquez, Associate AD at Auburn University contacted some local cotton manufacturers in their area who donated rolls of fabric to their athletic department. Their equipment staff has already begun sewing.
- Logan Fischer of the Penn State University Women’s Ice Hockey program responded not only with a “yes” but included photos of initial samples he made and a breakdown of what worked and what didn’t.
- A woman in the Princeton, NJ area cut out over 300 fabric pieces for masks but had no way to sew them herself. Clif Perry of Princeton University Athletics was able to coordinate a safe pick-up of those pieces and deliver them to his staff who began finishing them for local distribution.
“Clif and I weren’t sure how people would respond, but we are grateful so many professionals immediately jumped in and began sourcing materials, coordinating staff, researching and testing patterns, and sharing best practices.” said Michael Cross, CEO of Athlete Viewpoint. “As a company with institutional contacts across the country, our role is simply connecting people to resources, and supporting our local initiatives while encouraging others to do the same.”