MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A South Florida doctor has come up with a design for a shield said to be effective against the spread of the coronavirus for athletes required to wear helmets to play sports.
They call it CAGEMASK, a two-layer reusable, washable cloth mask that is easily attached to the protective cage of a sports helmet assuring a proper fit.
Unlike regular face masks, CAGEMASK is for athletes who use a protective helmet. It does not inhibit breathing or performance, according to its manufacturer.
"CAGEMASK is the opportunity for people playing football, hockey, and lacrosse to take extra precautions to allow themselves to play safely," said Courtney Young, Athletic Director At Riviera Prep and one of the partners of CAGEMASK.
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"CAGEMASK is a mask applied to the cage that has a helmet to help stop the spread of droplets," said Dr. Keith Hechtman.
Hechtman is a Miami based board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine who created the design for CAGEMASK.
Courtney Young is the athletic director at Riviera Prep. He saw first hand the need to keep players safe. They teamed up with South Florida based dress design house Rene Ruiz Collection, that became the manufacturers, using their seamstresses at their Hialeah sample rooms. Then, CAGEMASK was born.
"They're keeping people working they would not have jobs, so it's been a great thing for not just us but for people that really didn't want to lose their jobs and it's keeping businesses alive," said Young.
After months of testing and working in conjunction with doctors and players under CDC guidelines, they launched with a patent to get players back on the field safely.
"The inner layer is a cotton microfiber and the outer layer is more of a polyester type stretch material and it allows the material to move back-and-forth in the course of handling," said Hechtman.
There are several designs.
One caught CBS4's Lisa Petrillo's eye. It's clear polypropylene from top to bottom and no fogging.
"So that I'm thinking of The Terminator with that one," said Petrillo after seeing the latest model.
"So you can see they are totally protected and we have ventilation as opposed to the shields," said Hechtman.
As soon as it was available locally, Ransom Everglades school was first to sign up for this new layer of protection.
They also have orders from high schools all over the country, and even an NFL team. The Washington Football team has been using CAGEMASK in practice.
All involved hope CAGEMASK will be the "game-changer" in high school, college, and professional sports programs.
"Can we make a difference? I believe so," said Hechtman.
"The main goal of CAGEMASK is to protect and potentially save lives and save seasons," said Young.
The Ransom Everglades' athletic director was so pleased with their CAGEMASKS for the football team that he just ordered CAGEMASKS for the entire Lacrosse team.
The season begins in January.
For more info on CAGEMASKS, click here.
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