(KMOV) - Dana Marquez is the brain behind the mask that you're seeing more and more of in college football.
He's the Associate Athletics Director of Equipment Operations at Auburn and the founder of Helmetfitting.com. Marquez has a passion for making sports, specifically football, safer for student-athletes.
"I'm always in search of new technology," said Marquez. "I'm always looking to make our athletes better, safer, and if that comes with different technology, that comes with different technology".
Marquez, a winner of the prestigious Maxwell Award for safety, knew back in March that COVID-19 would affect college football. He used his expertise to find a way to make a safer mask for the sport.
"The NFL said, 'Hey, we are going to put face shields on a helmet,' and I'm like, 'You can't do that realistically and have an athlete feel safe about playing the game," said Marquez. "I started looking at different fabrics that were out there. You have these sports companies out there saying. 'We have this performance mask and it's cloth,' and that's great. Cloth works, cotton works but you just can't breathe through it if it's a three-ply piece."
Marquez helped design the mask along with a company in South Korea to create the SHEMA97 Functional Active Mask. It's made in South Korea, and shipped from the US.
"South Korea has been using this mask for many years with great success," said Marquez. "Just from a filtration standpoint, that's where I've looked at it saying, 'Okay can you breathe? How heavy is it? Is it adjustable? Can I make it in different sizes?".
Marquez's mask uses high-performance nano fabric technology and according to their website, it protects the respiratory system from harmful substances and infectious sources.
"The concept was how do we get the rain-resistant part of it?" said Marquez. "How do we get the breathability through it and the ability to communicate through it?"
Since being seen on various coaches in the SEC, the demand has skyrocketed with the Big Ten and other Power 5 conferences wanting the masks. While he wasn't expecting this much success, he's glad that he can continue to help the sport that he's passionate about.
The public can purchase the Shema97 Functional Active Mask. For more information, visit here.