Nike Creates Protective Gear in Response to Pandemic

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. repurpose / riˈpɜr pəs / (v) – to use something differently from its original purpose

    The company repurposed their old vehicles and turned them into mobile food trucks.

  2. streamline / ˈstrimˌlaɪn / (v) – to make something faster, simpler, or more effective

    Some travel agencies help streamline the process of getting a visa.

  3. seamlessly / ˈsimləsli / (adv) – done easily without much problems

    The brand new machines worked seamlessly.

  4. under strain / ˈʌn dər streɪn / (idiom) – having too many problems or difficulties to deal with

    The project is having major issues, so everyone in the team is currently under strain.

  5. prolong / prəˈlɔŋ / (v) – to make something last longer

    Regular exercise and a healthy diet can prolong one’s life.


Read the text below.

Leading sportswear brand Nike has repurposed its shoe and apparel materials to produce full-face shields and other protective medical equipment for healthcare workers in the United States.

As part of Nike’s pandemic response, the company has worked with medical experts from the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Nike patterned its output from the face shields currently used at OHSU. OHSU health professionals tested the prototypes and approved the final product for mass production.

Nike made use of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), collar padding, and cords to create the face shields. These materials were previously used for making Nike Air soles, shoes, and apparel, respectively.

In a press release, Nike said it wanted to not only produce high-quality face shields but also develop an efficient production process. People from Nike’s Innovation Teams and Air Manufacturing Innovation (Air MI) facilities collaborated to streamline the process. Air MI’s decades of experience in creating different kinds of TPU products made it easier to seamlessly adapt to manufacturing PPE while also complying with government guidelines.

Miko Enomoto, an associate professor from the OHSU School of Medicine, explained the importance of Nike’s initiative. She said the lack of protective gear compromises the health of frontline medical workers, which could potentially put the healthcare workforce under strain in the coming months. She added that full-face shields can prolong the usability of surgical or N95 masks.

Nike shipped its first batch of full-face shields and other protective medical equipment to OHSU in April, and it will continue sending PPE to health facilities across the United States.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think other companies who have the capacity to make PPE should follow Nike’s example? Why or why not?
• Do you think Nike should offer its PPE to other countries as well? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Aside from lack of protective equipment, what do you think are the main challenges healthcare workers are facing in the current situation (e.g. lack of facilities)? Explain.
• What are some ways to address these challenges? Discuss.