OGDEN, UTAH, FEBRUARY 1, 2021: Makana Masks, the American manufacturer of innovative reusable safety masks, has partnered with the athletics department at Youngstown State University to protect the school’s athletes from exposure to COVID19 while traveling. Makana Masks offer a significantly higher degree of personal protection to the wearer than cloth face coverings or disposable masks, helping to ensure that YSU’s student athletes remain on their game as college sports programs resume across the country.

The Youngstown State Athletics Department, home of the Penguins, has purchased 650 Makana Masks for athletes traveling to compete in sports including basketball, tennis, soccer, swimming, and Division I football. 

“At Youngstown State, we make it a priority to keep our student athletes and staff healthy and safe,” said Ethan Solger, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine. “One of the biggest mitigation strategies that we have seen to be effective is universal masking. By partnering with Makana Masks we have been able to provide our student athletes and staff with comfortable filtered masks while traveling on vans, buses, and planes to mitigate the risk of contracting or spreading COVID19 to others in our community.”

Makana Masks feature replaceable filters that are more than 99% effective at blocking particles of .1 microns in size and greater, including those most likely to carry the novel coronavirus. Because the wearer does not touch the filter when putting the mask on or taking it off, risk of contaminating the filter is significantly less than with disposable N95 masks.

Makana Masks are made of soft, durable silicone and feature memory foam facial seals that conform to the contours of the face, ensuring that air flows through the filter and not around it. They are washable and reusable, making them less expensive over time and more environmentally responsible than disposable masks.

The founder of Makana Masks, David Mathews, has identified protecting athletes as an important part of the Makana Masks mission: “Sports are so important to our culture and to the college experience in particular. In the early days of the pandemic, the shutdown of athletic programs was a loss we all felt acutely. Now these programs are back, and to make it work we need to protect student athletes when they’re on the road. Through our collaboration with YSU, Makana Masks is providing a highly effective and versatile piece of protective equipment to a celebrated athletics program. We’re thrilled to be part of the solution.”

Makana Masks custom manufactured YSU’s masks in black, incorporating the traditional “Y“ logo in red and white and a full color Pete the Penguin mascot. The YSU athletes will look great and feel safe wearing the most effective and comfortable PPE available.

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