Local high school football players are gearing up for a new season. Small pads will help keep junior varsity and varsity football players safe when they suit up.
The Taylor Haugen Foundation was at Booker T. Washington High School Monday afternoon, fitting the players for their new protective gear. The pads slip into pockets on a shirt. Then, they heat up and mold to fit each individual player’s body, before hardening into a kevlar-like material.
The pads are designed to protect players from abdominal injuries during games. This type of protective gear has been around and has is available to players at the college and pro levels. But a lot of younger players and their parents don’t know anything about it. That’s something the Taylor Haugen Foundation is working to change.
“we want to educate and equip middle school and high school students with the high-tech equipment commonly worn by the pros and college, but often unknown to our middle school and high school kids and their parents and coaches,” said Brian Haugen, with the Taylor Haugen Foundation.
“Our kids get the benefits of having extra protection. This gives them the opportunity to wear a shirt that has pads in it. Very similar to what they’re buying already on the market– this is a little more personable,” said Booker T. Washington head football coach, Charlie Ward.
The Taylor Haugen Foundation already gave the protective gear to players in Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay Counties, thanks to grant money. Donations have paid for the equipment for players in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. The fittings are also part of the first ever study on abdominal injuries in youth football.