Metro Detroit Mans Custom Masks Keeping Players in the Game03-30-2012
WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) — When athletes want to save face, many call one Michigan guy. He’s like a modern day Michelangelo in a high tech lab, and his creations are keeping players in the game. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is not the first to sport a plastic facade to protect a broken nose. Richard “Rip” Hamilton, the former Piston, really put the mask on the map. “Rip’s got a little bigger problem. He’s broken his nose enough that, now at this stage, they’ve talked about doing more serious surgery to do a reconstruction there,” said Jeremy Murray.
Whether he goes to them or they come to him, when it comes to crafting a custom mask, Murray is the go-to guy. “I’m not the only person who does it. I do more then anyone else on earth, that’s for sure. I’ve made probably 550 or 600 in the last three years,” he explained.
At the Michigan Hand and Sports Rehabilitation Center in Warren, Murray is part artist and part orthotist. It starts with a plaster mold of the athlete’s face. he then employs some pretty heavy duty plastic. “It’s the same stuff they make bullet proof glass out of,” he said.
After just minutes in a 300 to 400 degree oven, the pliable plastic is placed over the modified face mold and, once it’s cooled, it’s time to carve the custom mask. each mask takes from 24 to 48 hours to create. however, it’s not just the elite athletes who know about playing through the pain. Volleyball is just one of the several sports 14-year-old Tori Pellerito was afraid to play again after breaking her nose.
“I was concerned to get hit in the face, and I didn’t want to go through surgery again. It was painful,” she said.
For an athlete on any level, a broken nose is a painful nuisance. “Of all the bones broken in the body, it’s the third most common bone to be broken. The other thing is that when you break your nose, you can still run. You can jump. You can shoot. You can do everything but get hit again,” Murray told us.
Just like the pros, Pellerito knew she could get back in the game with a little protection. “I feel like I don’t have to worry about getting injured as much, and I feel like if it hits me in the face, it’s no big deal and I can just play my game,” she said.
The masks actually go through impact testing at Wayne State’s ballistic laboratory to make sure they’re safe. The cost is anywhere from $500 to $1000.
Original HealthWorks Story by: Deena Centofanti @ Fox TV 2