Area football coaches excited about new helmet

Indianapolis

More than twenty youth football directors and coaches from Central Indiana gathered in Indianapolis on Thursday night to learn more about a new ultra-light football helmet made in Brownsburg.

The helmet is a collaboration between racing safety pioneer Bill Simpson and legendary race team owner Chip Ganassi.

Fox59 News has been following Simpson Ganassi Helmets (SGH) since it began outfitting several Colts players with prototypes last season, but now the company is beginning to mass produce helmets for all levels of football, including youth leagues.

"If you want to pass this around, this is an adult one. They're half the weight of our competitors," Simpson said, as he showed his helmets to a group of interested coaches in Indianapolis.

Football coaches and youth football directors from the metro area were impressed with what they saw and heard from Simpson.

"It's like I couldn't believe (the weight),” said Birch Dalton, a director of youth football in Westfield. "His history in racing gave a lot of credibility right off the bat. That's why I came down. Plus the urgency with concussions."

Concussions on the field are what shifted Simpson's focus to football three years ago. Last month Fox 59 News got exclusive access into his testing facility as he put his youth helmet to the test. Initial lab tests showed significant improvement over a top selling competitor.

"There's no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet,” Simpson said. “The only thing I know that we can do is minimize those concussions and the severity of those concussions, and I'm pretty sure that we've got that."

Simpson says the ultimate test will take place on the field, which is why he wants to work with local teams and answer all possible questions.

The price of the helmet is the most frequent questions so far. SGH is currently charging $350 for it, which is steep for leagues used to paying far less.

"Cost will be a factor,” said Brett Hesson, assistant Director of Plainfield youth football. “The helmets are going to be more expensive than the existing helmets in the marketplace, but we should never say we're not going to do it because of the cost of it."

"I'm anxious to try some," Dalton said.

That's exactly what some of the coaches are already planning to do.

"Yeah I think, in May, I'd like to outfit one of my teams so I can see it happen,” Dalton said. “I think it's worth the investment."

Eric Moore, head coach at Center Grove high school, said he’s not sure how many helmets the school will be able to purchase, but he said he’ll be working to get them to as many players as possible.

"My kids, my own two sons, will play in it,” Moore said. “I'll try to get, you know, probably as many people as I can to try to buy the product because it's just that good."

Officials with USA football, the NFL’s partner for youth football development, were also on hand for the meeting with SGH. They declined interviews for the story, but told Fox59 News that they are anxious to learn more about it and are excited to see new materials being introduced into football helmet design.

For more information on the SGH helmet, go to www.sghelmets.com

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