When the pandemic arrived in Vancouver, BC back in March of 2020, no one really knew the severity or the duration of what was to come. It was clear, however, that life would not be normal for some time. For two long time friends from the West Coast, it was their love of sports that took the biggest hit.
Mike Mahony and Will Cromack grew up playing soccer together. Mike Mahony's family owns a chain of pubs in the Vancouver area and he has been heavily involved in the sports community for most of his life. He currently sits on the board for the Canadian Health and Fitness Institute. Will Cromack started the Play Better Sports Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of youth sports. He also devotes the majority of his evenings to coaching youth soccer at a private academy.
As the effects of COVID 19 started to crystallize that spring, sport would become the first casualty as youth leagues started shutting down one by one. This was eventually followed by most of the professional sports leagues. It was a situation that was unthinkable only a few months prior.
How do we get back to sports in a safe manner? How can we help save sport? These were the questions posed every time the two friends spoke. Invariably, the topic of masks came up. But how do you play sports in a mask without sucking the pleasure from game as you continually pull at your mask trying to get an adequate intake of air?
Mike Mahony called his friend, Kemp Edwards to announce that they needed to create a sports mask and they needed to do it now. Kemp was already making masks at a frenetic pace through his product design company, Ethical Profiling. Kemp is an avid ocean and snow sport enthusiast who spends his days helping source and design socially and ethically conscious products.
What followed was months and months of prototyping and sourcing. An endless array of different sports masks were worn as they went for runs in all kinds of contraptions. Some were pretty cool. Some not so cool. Their kids were often guinea pigs as well.
As things progressed, they enlisted the services of two friends with a depth of experience in technical sports hard goods design. Now things were humming. Dropgard was starting to take shape. It’s all about breathing and safety. How do you marry the two since they seem to be, on the surface, opposing forces when it comes to masks.
After reading countless scientific studies and emailing experts in the field on viral transmission, it became clear that the mouth was the guilty expeller of droplets and aerosols. This is why the Japanese don’t allow talking on the subway system during this pandemic. If you literally keep your mouth shut, you keep your droplets to yourself. This is what’s known as “source control.” Concentrate on stopping droplets from being expelled. This became the key to Dropgard’s patent pending design that separates breathing compartments between the nose and mouth. The separation allows Dropgard to provide more breathability to the nose and more protection for the mouth since the mouth is the primary source that needs to be controlled.
The other key features are comfort and audibility. Dropgard sits off the mouth, making it far more comfortable than any mask we have seen in the market. The adjustable head strap also ensures that Dropgard won’t come lose from playing sports. And lastly, there’s audibility. That’s a fancy word for simply being able to speak clearly in a mask. When someone wears Dropgard, you cannot audibly tell that they are wearing any mask at all. Perfect for coaches who need to be heard.
In the end, three friends put their minds together, as well as their network of experts to produce Dropgard Athletica. We’re confident that you will find great use from this sports mask and get back to playing the sport you love.