Virginia Tech designs football helmet to protect against spread of COVID-19

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Virginia Tech researchers and designers working with new football helmets to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Tech)

Virginia Tech researchers and designers working with new football helmets to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo: Courtesy Virginia Tech)

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech is well-known for being on the cutting edge of football helmet research to keep players safe from head injuries, but the COVID-19 outbreak presented the helmet experts in Blacksburg with a new challenge.

Players breath heavily, and their faces are within inches of each other while on the playing field. That increases the risk of exposure from respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

Now, researchers and designers have developed a helmet that features a face shield that can block or slow those droplets. The new shields will be customized for each player to provide maximum protection.

Helmet designers were in a race against the clock to have some sort of protection in place for the start of the football season. It took them only two months to find success.

Eventually, the visors may be treated with a coating developed by a Virginia Tech chemistry professor that has shown to be effective against the coronavirus in lab tests.

While the shields are a matter of Hokie Pride, Virginia Tech is sharing the design with the rest of the ACC, as well as the NFL, because it could help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

For more on the new helmet design, visit the Virginia Tech website.

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