Decathlon converts snorkelling masks into ventilators to help Italian coronavirus patients

The sports store chain is doing its bit to stop the spread of Covid-19

Decathlon is working to convert its line of snorkelling masks in the fight against coronavirus.

The sporting goods giant is working with an Italian research institute in redesigning its line of Easybreath underwater masks to be used as emergency ventilator masks in hospital.

The Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems (Isinnova), based in Rome, was contacted by the head physician of the Gardone Valtrompia hospital in Italy, who needed help tackling the shortage of ventilator masks during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Isinnova then contacted Decathlon, who immediately offered up design drawings of the mask to help the effort.

The researchers designed and 3D printed a new connection between the ventilator and the mask, which can be used in a worst case scenario in hospitals around the world.

According to Isinnova “The prototype as a whole has been tested on one of our colleagues directly inside the Chiari Hospital, connected to the ventilator body, and has proven to be correctly working. The hospital itself was enthusiastic about the idea and decided to test the device on a patient in need. The testing was successful.”

Italy has been struggling to cope with rapid spread of coronavirus, as the nation now has almost 64,000 confirmed cases with 6,000 people dying from infection so far.

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Isinova is now offering its innovation to hospitals elsewhere, releasing full instructions and a video demonstration so health professionals can buy masks from Decathlon and create their own emergency ventilator masks.

Earlier this month, Italian kit brand Santini announced that it was ready to transfer its efforts from jerseys and bibshorts into producing medical masks during the coronavirus crisis.

Santini, which sponsors men's and women's WorldTour teams Trek-Segafredo,  is based near Bergamo in the north of Italy, the worst affected area in the country.

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Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.