There is no doubt that the sports community is bordering on a crisis. With sports injuries at an all-time high, even with all the advances in technology, our athletes, young and old, are suffering from injuries that are keeping them out of the game – or worse.
Many sports injuries are sustained because an athlete didn’t train properly, wasn’t aware of the best technique for protecting himself in a sport or the athlete wasn’t fully protected in his gear. We call this the 3Ts of Effective Sports: Training, Technique and Technology. Each on its own can be a powerful tool for an athlete at any level. The combination of the three Ts is game changing – on many different levels.
Kurt Warner discovered Unequal, tried it on his kids and based on what he witnessed, came to Unequal to see how he could help. I really like Unequal’s Play It Safe program because it combines training, technique and protective technology in a way that shows care for the whole athlete.
For years, football helmets have had to meet a relatively simple standard. Companies strap one to a dummy head equipped with sensors and slam it into a post at varying speeds. If the impacts produce values beneath 1200 GSI — a level that equates to a small chance of suffering a fractured skull — the helmet passes.
Rob Vito is taking a different approach. His Pennsylvania-based company, Unequal Technologies, sells Kevlar-fortified pads meant to supplement a helmet's existing inner cushioning, which he derides as "couch foam." He said his products act like a trampoline, dispersing the energy of a blow across a wide surface area and reducing the severity of the impact.
Advancements in protective gear
With bigger hits than ever on the field, athletes want to be more protected. Two behind-the-scenes companies are standing out when it comes to protective gear in sports. First, there's Unequal Technologies, a company that soared in popularity after Michael Vick discovered it (the company also makes military gear). Today, the company outfits the Pittsburgh Steelers, including Troy Polamalu and Big Ben as well as James Harrison, who searched for better helmet padding after a helmet-to-helmet hit broke his eye socket. Unequal Technologies' CEO stands strong behind the technology: Rob Vito guarantees that players won't get hurt on game day.
Around 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl this month, but lately football-related concussions have been dominating the headlines. More than 3,000 retired players and their families recently sued the National Football League, alleging that it hid information linking head injuries to brain disease. Now, one company aims to make the sport safer, using technology developed for the military.
This has been an amazing couple of weeks for the Unequal Snowboard Team. I have a bit of a personal stake in this whole thing because my daughter, Arielle Gold and my son Taylor Gold are both Unequal Team members as well as members of the US Snowboard Team, but I'm also trying to document how Unequal is rapidly becoming an important part of so many Professional snowboarder's lives first and foremost to protect them, but also in protecting them giving them additional confidence to push their own limits and achieve amazing results.
No helmet pad can prevent or eliminate the risk of concussions or other serious head injuries while playing sports. Scientists have also not reached agreement on how the results of impact absorption tests relate to concussions. No conclusions about a reduction of risk or severity of concussive injury should be drawn from impact absorption tests.