June 2021 - 14

PROTECTING
YOUR PLAYERS
By Wesley Sykes, managing editor
Ask around your local football fields what a head
coach wants out of their players and the answer will
typically resemble the same idea: to get the most out of
them. In order to do that, players have to remain upright
and healthy. As New England Patriots head coach Bill
Belichick has famously stated time and time again, the
best ability a player can possess is availability.
How do we equip our athletes with that specific ability?
Protecting them from sustaining injuries during practice
is one step. Another is taking the advancements in
technology - whether it be hardware, software, or both -
and applying that to equipment that is already being used.
Coach and Athletic Director compiled four companies
that go above and beyond to protect players and ensure
they are providing the availability so that athletes can
focus on their other abilities.
Guardian Caps
Used by more than
200 colleges, 1500 high
schools, and 500 youth
programs, Guardian
Caps has shown to
reduce impacts during
practice by up to 33
percent. This one-sizefits-all
padded, softshell
layer goes over your
typical hard-shell helmet
and augments it to make the helmet flexible and soft,
and able to more effectively manage energy and mitigate
repetitive, cumulative blows.
" People don't really appreciate what an o-lineman or
a d-lineman goes through. They're facing impact - not
only in a game, and they're getting 80 plays in a game -
but then you see how they practice. The impact on those
kids...there's an impact on every snap of every play, "
Matt Campbell, Iowa State head football coach, said in a
testimonial.
Not only do Guardian Caps address the accumulation
of daily sub-concussive blows for offensive and defensive
linemen, linebackers, tight ends specifically, but they also
help extend the life of a team's hardshell helmets. And,
as of 2020, NFL testing validates the benefit of Guardian
Caps, and it's used by linemen during NFL practices.
In addition to protecting the athlete wearing the
cap, it also can also protect the athlete on the opposite
end of the contact - lessening blows to knees, hands,
abdomen, etc.
14 JUNE 2021
" We train to reduce injuries, we practice smarter to
reduce injuries, and we use the best technology available
to us to reduce injuries. At Bergen Catholic, we want to
put our players in the best uniforms, the best equipment,
and take every measure to limit the risks of the game.
We definitely believe the Guardian Cap is one of those
technological improvements, " Nunzio Campanile, former
Bergen (NJ) Catholic High School head football coach
said in a testimonial.
GameBreaker
Finding a gap in player safety during the early 2000s,
GameBreaker softshell headgear is designed to protect
athletes competing in non-padded practices during the
tackle football season, 7-on-7 football, or flag football.
They partnered with D3O, a company specializing in
shock-absorbing solutions, for the GameBreaker-Pro - a
lightweight, high-performing soft protective headgear
with a five-star safety rating from Virginia Tech.
With no hard or sharp components to snag or scrape
other players, the GameBreaker-PRO reduces the
risk of sustaining a concussion on impact by over
75 percent. Even in practice and other non-contact
environments, collisions will occur, and without the
protection of traditional pads and helmets, the severity
of the injuries can be greater than in full pads and have
lasting effects.
" One of my best wide receivers took a bad knee right to
the side of the head during a passing league tournament.
He told me after that if he had not been wearing the helmet
provided by Gamebreaker, the result would have been
much, much worse, " Robert Frith, former El Toro (CA) High
School head coach, said in a statement.
In addition to its soft shell helmets, GameBreaker
also offers under shield practice pads, lip protector
mouthpieces, helmet liners, as well as soccer headbands.
LIGHT Helmets
The top-rated Virginia Tech flag football soccer
headgear, LIGHT Helmet is the only headgear product
to ever achieve a perfect score by the institution's rating
system. With the best-ever impact and coverage score,
LIGHT Helmet protects your athlete and even others not
wearing headgear during competition.
Its composite shell is light yet strong, and its Armour
Foam, initially invented by NASA, absorbs impact instead

June 2021

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