Doing the Right Thing: Donation helps protect Appleton football players

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - As the danger of concussions in football continues to be a hot-button topic, one local high school has a new tool to reduce the amount of impact on heads during practices.

A big donation made it happen.  

"Sophomore year I had a concussion during a game and it is comforting knowing there is something else there to protect yourself from it" says player Brandon Haag. 

That something is called a Guardian Cap. 

According to Appleton North's Head Football Coach, Rob Salm "They will reduce 33 percent of impact of all collisions. If it is guardian on guardian it is 50 percent of impact. If you think about that over time in the game of football how much less impact that is for each one of the boys brains, that is significant". 

The helmet covers are worn by more than 80,000 football and lacrosse players nationwide. This is the first season they are being used at Appleton North. 

"I know when I was able to tell the parents, specifically the moms I guess, you could see that there is a sense of relief that their boys will have protection and still play the game that they love" says Coach Salm. 

Guardian caps retail for around $60 a piece. Appleton North outfitted the entire team thanks to an anonymous donor. 

"We were very fortunate we had a big supporter of North Football who wanted to give a donation, safety related and I said I have the perfect thing" Salm says. 

"We are really grateful for him doing that. And its awesome that he helped us and he's looking out for us too" Haag says. 

They caps are already making a difference to the team's injury report. "We are seeing a lot less concussions in practice activities" says Licensed Athletic Trainer Cassy Timmers. 

According to Linebacker Jake Tomassetti "Last year we were riddled with injuries and this year we have our full squad and that is why we are winning more games". 

For now the caps are only used during practice. The coach is hopeful with enough data they will eventually be approved for games. 

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