Trystan Lago Awarded 2015 Scholarship

After reading each and every one of the thousands of scholarship entries for this year’s award, we have finally decided upon a winner. Before I announce who that person is, I’ll briefly explain the scholarship itself and how it is earned.

Each year, we give a $1,000 scholarship award to a deserving individual who we think exemplifies our values here at Sports Unlimited. We discover this person by asking our applicants (who must be a graduating high school senior or a freshman/sophomore in college) to write a convincing and honest essay that answers that year’s prompt. One of our core values is to foster development and by helping a high school or college student-athlete continue his/her education, we hope to stay true to that value.

The 2015 scholarship prompt was to “describe a time when you’ve had to overcome adversity to succeed in a sport.” This style prompt allowed us to accept responses from thousands of applicants who have all participated in various sports whether that be baseball, cheerleading, ice skating, cross country, volleyball, football, martial arts, or one of many more sports. It was not easy to choose only one winner and we appreciate each and every response that we’ve received. Without meandering further, the 2015 winner of the Sports Unlimited Scholarship is…

Trystan Lago

Sports Unlimited Scholarship Winner ,Trystan Lago signing Trine Football Agreement
Sports Unlimited Scholarship Winner, Trystan Lago signs Trine Football Agreement

Trystan’s well-written essay epitomized an athlete’s ability to overcome adversity in a sport in order to succeed and we are truly proud to award him with this scholarship. He is an extremely deserving young man and we wish him all the best in his studies and athletic endeavors at Trine University this fall.

Here is a short excerpt of Trystan’s essay:

“Then, my greatest life disappointment came. My throwing wrist was fractured in the last game of my junior season. After two surgeries, 8 months in a cast, and sitting out spring football the offensive coach decided to start a 15-year-old sophomore who had played as quarterback while I was recovering. I had played quarterback my entire career. It was my love and passion, what kept that burning drive in me to succeed and I found out I would be sitting the bench my senior year. I knew that, without any senior year statistics or game film as quarterback, college football scholarships that had been just within my grasp would likely be impossible. I was extremely depressed, my grades dropped, I didn’t want to go to school, I told my Mom I didn’t care about anything, I was embarrassed and didn’t want to walk through the halls at school or sit with classmates at lunch. My Mom was very worried about me so she asked teachers and mentors at my school, Calvary Christian Academy, to support me. I had a decision to make, be angry and sit on the bench my senior season or ask the coach which position he wanted me to play instead of quarterback. I decided to lose my pride and make the best of the situation. My coach said he was impressed by my attitude, that we needed a wide receiver. Though I suffered my greatest life disappointment, I played as receiver supporting my team and encouraging the younger quarterback.”

Keep an eye out right here on the blog and on our dedicated Sports Unlimited Scholarship page for the new 2016 scholarship essay and survey for next year’s award.

 


14 Signs You’re a Football Player at Heart

1. Sundays you’re on a couch.

football-tv
via digitaltrends.com

You are a rock. A rock on a couch.

 

2. You’re used to being called by your last name.

 

 

Tim Riggins Jersey
via siamtradingpost.com

 First names are for suckers.

3. You run plays in your head.

Football Playbook
via donerightmarketingmedia.com

X’s and O’s gentlemen. X’s and O’s.

4. You measure distances in yardage.

Football Gridiron Yard Lines
via corbisimages.com

Yeah, this hallway looks like a good 25 yards. Let’s test the arm.

5. You take the Under Armour, “We Must Protect This House” ads very seriously.

We Must Protect This House
via youtube and Under Armour

I WILL, I WILL. Under Armour HWHAGHHGGH

6. You’re a big fan of Minka Kelly… Oh Lyla.

Lyla Garrity Minka Kelly
via buddytv.com

Hi, Lyla.

7. You’ve won 100 Super Bowls in your backyard.

Backyard Football Catch
via shaungroves.com

And then you spike the ball and it either goes over the fence or hits you back in your face.

8. You do spin moves around the house.

Alabama Eddie Lacy Spin Move
via youtube

Perfectly executed spin-move past the dining room chair.

9. You stiff arm your friends.

stiff arm football
via extrapolater.wordpress.com

Sit down.

10. Madden will never get old.

Mike Vick Madden
via youtube

Mike Vick need never throw the ball.

11. Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday.

Tom Brady Thanksgiving
via boston.com

Food. Football. Sleep.

12. Crimson, Scarlet, and Cardinal are more than just shades of red.

College-Colors

It’s a beautiful thing.

13. The country is divided into territories.

nfl-fan-map
via cippinonsports.com

Always wear your gear into rival territories.

14. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Kyle Chandler Friday Night Lights
via chigacotribune.com

 

 

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a writer at SportsUnlimited.com

EvoShield – The Future is Cool, Welcome to It

EvoShield uses dispersion technology with their custom molding shields to defend your body better than traditional protective gear.  This advancement in protection has rapidly changed the way players of all sports protect themselves and shows no sign of slowing down.  It is hard to believe that something so lightweight and thin can protect you as well as these Shields can, but RG3 knows it.  The cutting edge is pretty sharp these days and that is what makes EvoShield so exciting. Learn more about EvoShield’s technology here.

EvoShield at SportsUnlimited.com

Click on the big image to check out EvoShield products at SportsUnlimited.com

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a dude at SportsUnlimited.com

New Schutt AiR XP Pro Football Helmet Unleashed!

Schutt AiR XP Pro Schutt is loaded with elite quality football helmets and they’ve added to the arsenal again.  An upgrade to the popular AiR XP, the AiR XP Pro Adult Football Helmet has been whispered about for some time, but is now available at Sports Unlimited!  Featuring Dual Compression TPU, the Surefit TPU Air Liner, and AiR Maxx TPU Jaw Pads, the beloved AiR XP is now immensely more safe in the Pro version.

Dual Compression TPU

The original AiR XP was made famous by its on-field performance and lightweight design, and the new AiR XP Pro maintains its light weight (3 lbs, 2 oz) with the added benefits of the most advanced cushioning system in existence.  I would say this is shocking, but when it comes to Schutt, nothing really shocks me anymore.  Consistent innovation and excellence are now the expectation from Schutt, and truly, they have not disappointed.

Surefit TPU Air Liner

We’ve witnessed the Dual Compression TPU (DCT) system in Schutt Vengeance helmets and by golly have we been impressed with this technology.  It is no surprise that they’ve moved on to add this system to the lightweight AiR XP series to improve shock absorption from both high velocity and low velocity impacts.  If you’ve ever been on a football field, you know how often collisions happen, and the way a helmet responds to these impacts is vital to the health of any player.  The DCT system simultaneously utilizes two types of TPU to best protect from every-play impacts as well as infrequent violent collisions.  The combination of protection and lightweight construction will surely make this one of the greatest on-field performing helmets we have ever seen and as Schutt spoils us with so many exceptional helmets to choose from, now is the time to give your game a boost with a brand new helmet with the safest, lightest, and strongest technology football has ever seen!

We, here at Sports Unlimited, are devoted to bringing you the very best football equipment because we take pride in our passion for the game.  Stay safe and practice hard!

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a writer at Sports Unlimited.

2013 Sports Unlimited Football Equipment Draft – Top 10 Picks

Let's Get Started!Welcome to the 2013 Sports Unlimited Football Equipment Draft. With all of our minds on the upcoming NFL Draft, we decided to present our own style of draft that features the best of the best football equipment that you can find at SportsUnlimited.com because we want to equip you with what you need to make 2013 the most memorable season of your life.

We have randomly generated a draft order for some of our expert compatriots at SU and I will be documenting the draft so that you can stay informed with the top-of-the-line, most advanced products in the industry.  Here are the top ten picks!

1.  Schutt Titanium Big Grill 2.0 Super Pro XL Football FacemaskTitaniumBG2.0XL

With the luck of the draw, the coveted first overall pick in our draft goes to Andre from the Customer Service department. With every product still on the board, Andre selects the Schutt Titanium Big Grill 2.0 Football Facemask. Lighter and stronger than steel, this facemask brings the performance of a No.1 pick.  Peak performance with the most intimidating and wicked design on the market make the Titanium Big Grill 2.0 one fearsome mask only available at Sports Unlimited.

Quarterback and Wide Receiver Shoulder Pads

2.  Schutt AiR Maxx Flex Adult Football Shoulder Pads – QB / WR

With so many incredible products remaining, Jason felt the pressure when he was on the clock and let it get down to 00:01 before deciding that the Schutt AiR Maxx Flex Adult Football Shoulder Pads – QB / WR were worthy of the 2nd pick. I have to agree with him because the Quarterback to Wide Receiver connection can put six points on the board on any given play. Ultimate protection with strategically placed TPU and superb range of motion give these pads the best draft rating in the biz. Drafting performance and protection for some of the most important positions on the field is always an excellent choice.

3.  Cutters X40 C-Tack Revolution Adult Football Receiver GlovesBest Football Gloves on the market!

In an early shock, Steve from our Web Team is going deep with the Cutters X40 C-Tack Revolution Adult Football Receiver Gloves. Equipped with a self-restoring C-Tack grip and available in an array of colors, these gloves make plays. Steve knows that fumbles and drops can cost dearly on the gridiron and he wasn’t afraid to snag an elite pair of ‘hands’ this high in the draft. Great pick!

Mean looking helmet with superb protection with Dual Compression TPU lining4.  Schutt Vengeance DCT Adult Football Helmet

The fourth pick belongs to our wise leader and President, Don who makes the most popular pick of the draft with the Schutt Vengeance DCT Adult and Youth Helmets. Don goes with the numbers here because he knows this popular helmet lives up to the hype and “has been our number one selling helmet this year”! The TPU in the DCT is the same material used in United States Armed Forces fighter pilot and paratrooper helmets. Combined with a re-imagined shell design, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see this go first overall!

5.  Riddell 360 Adult Football HelmetThis may be the best football helmet in the world!

Having had head and jaw injuries in the past, I knew from the start that I needed to draft a great helmet. With Don having taken the Schutt Vengeance DCT off the board, my decision became a lot easier because my internal argument was between the former and the Riddell 360 Adult Football Helmet. With Concussion Reduction Technology, Flex Face Guard, and Riddell’s Hexagonal Liner System, I may have just picked up the best helmet in the world.

Vision on the field6.  Oakley Football Eyeshield

Web Team is here with another pick, and Steph, with an understanding of how important vision is on the field, dashes to our imaginary podium to select the Oakley Football Eyeshield. Steph trusts the Plutonite construction and HDO (High Definition Optics) technology from Oakley because wherever you are on the field, your decision-making relies on vision. The value here is playing smart and Steph’s team is going to be built on great vision and smart decisions.

7.  Schutt Vengeance DCT Hybrid+ Youth Football HelmetDual Compression TPU Padding

At the seventh pick, Doug, the feared Web Team Manager, picks up the product at the top of his draft board, the Schutt Vengeance DCT Hybrid+ Youth Football Helmet. “I like the combination of all the latest protection technologies and the value you get versus the Youth Vengeance DCT.” The innovative combination of Dual Compression TPU and traditional vinyl nitrile padding makes this youth helmet high in protection and low in price. This could be the steal of the draft!

New Balance Men's Football Lacrosse Cleats8.  New Balance 993 Mid Mens Lacrosse / Football Cleats

Michele, one of our Customer Service Supervisors, has the football knowledge and competitive spirit to know that winning on the gridiron takes great footwork and her strategy is speed, speed, speed.  She’s getting some traction with the New Balance 993 Mid Mens Lacrosse / Football Cleats.  These cleats were designed to have the versatility, durability, and lightness to make a player dangerous.  Speed with stability can go a long way.

9.  Wilson TDS Leather High School Football Approved for High School Play

We have back to back Customer Service Supervisor picks and this one belongs to Jamie.  One of the friendliest people around, he cares about our products and our customers, which is why he is going with the Wilson TDS Leather High School Football.  Without a ball, you can’t play and this beauty is approved by NFHS for high school play.  Practice your skills with the ball or play some catch out back because a tight spiral just looks better with an official ball. You can see and feel the quality with 899 full-grain leather.

All Purpose for any player on the field!10.  Schutt Y Flex All Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads

Ryan received the tenth and last pick in the draft, but with the expertise he has as a Buyer and Customer Service Manager, he can draft in any position and come out with a winner. He calls the Schutt Y Flex All Purpose Youth Football Shoulder Pads, “great youth shoulder pads that our customers love for all positions. Value is excellent.” Ryan picks for strength and versatility with these youth shoulder pads that feature Air Flex tech and vapor holes to maintain protection with great comfort. Safety is paramount whether you are developing football skills or playing at an elite level.

There you have it, our inaugural Sports Unlimited Football Equipment Draft is complete. I’d like to thank the participants for lending their expertise. I’ll declare the draft a success due to my personal happiness with my pick and I know you all were rooting for me. This draft could have gone any which way because the top ten draft picks were only a tiny sample of what SportsUnlimited.com has to offer!

Good luck this season folks!

By Isaac Clark
Isaac is a writer at Sports Unlimited.

Can I Get a Custom Facemask Like NFL Players Wear?

Can I get a custom football facemask? Can I customize a big grill 2.0 facemask? Can I get a Big Grill 2.0 for the ION 4D? Customers are more and more set on creating custom football facemasks for their game, but today, people are confused if this is even possible.

Ray Lewis Custom FacemaskCustom football facemasks have been a part of the game for years, but only recently have they taken on a completely new form, changing from mere performance and protection pieces into full on branding mechanisms! Starting last year with players like Justin Tuck and Chris Canty, and now with even more unique facemasks like the sick one worn by Ray Lewis recently, players are seeing the wide benefits of customized and unique facemasks. Custom configurations not only give football players a more aggressive look, and better protection, but they are also starting to identify players, make them stand out, and are getting people talking…like, in this blog for instance.

But with this big move towards facemask customization in the NFL, comes a clamoring for all of these new, unique, and aggressive facemasks from the masses of football players around the world! Not surprisingly, everyone from Pop Warner kids to NCAA College players want to rock their own custom football facemasks, to get the same look they see on their favorite NFL players. That’s why over the passed two years, since appearing on famous players, the original Justin Tuck facemask, and now the new Big Grill 2.0 Ray Lewis facemask have together become the best selling facemasks of all time!

Justin Tuck FacemaskSchutt Big Grill 2.0

But now people are starting to wonder, how can I get my own custom football facemasks?

The reasons are many. Some players want the new Big Grill 2.0 look, but on a helmet that the retail-produced facemask simply isn’t compatible with. They want a Big Grill 2.0 for the ION 4D, or a Big Grill for a Riddell Revo Speed. Others want completely new football facemasks bar configurations never seen before, to create their own look. Whatever the reason though, the question is always the same; where can I get a custom facemask, and how much would one be?

The answer is short, and unfortunately disappointing. You can’t.

According to football gear production companies, they simply cannot allow end users (i.e., retail customers…people like you and me, who aren’t professional football players like, say, Ray Lewis) to create and use their own faceguards. Many things come into play, but mainly, the issues are logistics, engineering, and overall, safety.

Creating a new facemask configuration for full production and manufacturing can be an expensive and difficult process, one which is too involved to warrant making only one custom facemask for one person. But in addition to the complications and costs arising from the production process, every facemask that helmet manufacturers like Schutt, Riddell, Rawlings, or whoever else creates and releases for sale, must be approved by NOCSAE (the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment), and unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily apply to NFL players.

NOCSAE FootballNOCSAE approval in and of itself can be a lengthy process, and is done to ensure the facemask is safe for use by adult and youth football players in regular game situations. It would be extremely difficult, and take a huge amount of time for football gear companies to create, manufacture, and have NOCSAE examine and approve a slew of individualized custom football facemasks for retail sale. And without the NOCSAE approval, facemask performance and in turn, player safety could be at risk.

It’s disappointing to hear, I know. But it looks like, for now, we non-NFL pro players are just going to have to settle for football facemasks manufactured and approved for retail sale. Thankfully though, companies like Schutt and Riddell have responded to the call for custom football facemasks, and are creating new and even cooler configurations for mass release all the time, developing styles similar to the Chris Canty, Ray Lewis, and Justin Tuck facemasks for sale!

Specialty Football Facemasks

By Brandon Porter.

Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

Pop Warner Limits Contact During Football Practice

New rulings in Pop Warner leagues restrict contact drills to 1/3 of practice time, ban full speed, head-on tackling and blocking drills at 3 yards, and forbid head-to-head impact. All of these rulings are designed to protect young players during practice, and prevent repetitive and high-force head impacts, which can cause concussions and brain injuries over time.

In an effort to spark changes in football from the bottom up, Pop Warner is introducing new rulings which will officially limit contact between players during practices. The first of their kind across a nationwide football league, these changes go into effect at the beginning of the 2012 season, and are three fold;

Pop Warner Football

  • Coaches must limit contact drills to no more than 1/3 of weekly practice time, or no more than 40 minutes during a single practice.
  • Full speed, head-on blocking and tackling drills, where players line up more than three yards apart, are officially restricted – angled hits are still acceptable.
  • All head-to-head contact is banned.

All designed to prevent brain injuries, concussion, and long-term health issues, Pop Warner is working with coaches to ensure each ruling is followed.

Pop Warner LogoAs the oldest and largest national youth football organization, Pop Warner has over 83 years experience training kids age 5 to 15, in the art of football. Leagues exist in 43 states, and stretch abroad to Germany, Russia, Japan, and Scotland. It’s also estimated that over 70% of all current NFL players started in Pop Warner programs. So needless to say, a change of this magnitude, in such a powerful and influential organization, was not made lightly, or without purpose.

“There are times when people and organizations have to evolve, and this is that time,” said neurosurgeon and chair of Pop Warner’s Medical Advisory Board, Dr. Julian Bailes. “For the future of the sport, we need to morph it now and take the unnecessary head contact out of the game.”

These rule changes seem to be the natural reaction to a slew of research, studies, and media exposure revolving around the long- and short-term effects of concussions in football players. Major impacts and minor repetitive hits caused by players of all ages and sizes, have been shown to have serious negative effects on the brain, especially those of developing children. Sub-concussive forces are even believed to cause degenerative brain disorders such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the disease found in the brains of many former NFL, and even some teenage players. Research into the area has also found that most concussions, in youth and adults, occur during practice.

So is it surprising that organizations like Pop Warner are seeing a slight decrease in enrollment? Is it shocking that, with all of this information gracing the headlines, parents are becoming more and more reticent to drop their kids off at football practice?

Football DrillsDr. Bailes believes that “if parents were considering allowing their child to play football, this (rule change) should assure them.” But he and Pop Warner are also hopeful that these rule changes will trickle up, making the game safer for players over time. After all, if players are trained from an early age to rely on their hands and bodies, instead of leading with their heads in constant contact drills, they’ll take those skills into high school, and on to college. Some may even take them on into the NFL.

“We’re not trying to fundamentally change the game.” Bailes said of the rulings. “We’re trying to ensure its survival by reducing the potential for injury in practice.”

With more and more information surfacing on the long-term effects of concussions, the serious lawsuit brought by high profile players against the NFL, and in light of the recent suicide of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, it seems that changes like these are becoming increasingly necessary, if our favorite sport is going to last.

By Brandon Porter.

Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

Should You Trust the Virginia Tech Football Helmet Ratings?

Explanation of the Virginia Tech STAR Rating for football helmets, and the benefits and objections to the study.

Concussions have always been a part of the game especially in football. But what was once referred to as simply “getting your bell rung,” has now become an incredibly serious health concern, leading to mental degeneration, persistent physical impairments, depression, and death. Concussions and Football helmets Among players, parents, and coaches, the growing fear of, and focus on concussions, their effects, and prevention have become priority number one, and for many, the first line of defense is the football helmet. Concussions are the result of a complicated event, with many variables, forces, and factors, ranging from the acceleration of the player to his genetics. Yet, at the end of the day, parents and players just want to find the best helmet to protect themselves from injuries. Unfortunately, consumers are really looking for a simple answer to a complex question.

Enter The STAR Rating System

After eight years of data collection, research, and experiments, in 2011, and again recently in 2012, Virginia Tech and their engineering department gave us an answer; the “STAR System” for rating the effectiveness of football helmets. Virginia Tech STAR helmet ratingSTAR, or the Summation of Tests for the Analysis of Risk, is a rating given to helmets, meant to describe their perceived effectiveness at reducing the risk of concussions. Each helmet is tested in an accredited lab, and using an algorithm developed by Stefan Dumma, lead engineer on the Virginia Tech rankings project, given a STAR value. According to Virginia Tech, this value is derived from 120 impacts on 3 new helmets, caused by dropping the helmet from a variety of heights, at four different positions, to simulate the range of helmet-to-helmet hits a player would experience on the field. After analyzing the results and data, the helmet is given a STAR rating, which attempts to define the number of concussions a player can expect to experience over the duration of one season, playing with that particular helmet.

2012 STAR Football Helmet Ratings

In 2012, Virginia Tech tested 15 adult large football helmet models using the STAR evaluation system. Helmets with higher STAR ratings provide a reduction in concussion risk, while those with lower ratings tend to provide less protection from concussions. Below are the published results of the 2012 STAR football helmet testing performed by Virginia Tech. Most of these helmets can be found at Sports Unlimited.  Please see the updated 2014 Virginia Tech Football Helmet Ratings.

5 Stars:
4 Stars:
3 Stars:
2 Stars:
1 Star:
NR:

Riddell 360

Rawlings Quantum Plus

Riddell Revolution Speed

Schutt Vengeance DCT*

Schutt ION 4D

Schutt DNA Pro +

Rawlings Impulse

Xenith X1

Riddell Revolution

Rawlings Quantum

Riddell Revolution IQ

Schutt AiR XP

Xenith X2

Schutt AiR Advantage

Riddell VSR4

AdamsA2000 Pro Elite

 

The Controversy Over Virginia Tech and STAR

Since it was first introduced into the industry in 2011, the Virginia Tech STAR rating for helmets has received both praise for informing players and parents of the effectiveness of certain helmets, and opposition from independent organizations like NOCSAE (the National Operation Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) and manufacturers like Schutt and Xenith, accusing the study of dramatic limitations and misleading results. The controversy over the Virginia Tech football helmet study has grown heated in the past few weeks, following the publication of the 2012 results. Press releases and rebuttal statements from Schutt, NOCSAE, and engineers from Virginia Tech have cast the issue further into the public light, and have people questioning, at once, the validity of the STAR ratings, and the intentions of some of the most trusted manufacturers in the game today!

Objections to the Virginia Tech STAR Rating System

Opposition from Schutt, NOCSAE, and others center on the authority of the helmet rating system and Virginia Tech’s methodology in the lab. Since the testing only focuses on lateral acceleration impacts (direct helmet-to-helmet contact) and ignores rotational impacts (the glancing blows that twist the head and neck), many believe its results and data are severely limited. Virginia Tech football helmet test

“We believe the assumptions behind the study have been flawed from the start because it fails to acknowledge that current science has yet to pin down the actual injury mechanics that cause concussions.  The STAR rating system is limited in too many ways because it considers only linear force impacts and totally ignores many other factors that are involved in a concussive event.”

-Cortney Warmouth, Director of New Product Development, Schutt

Although respecting the tests and results as a leap forward in understanding the nature and prevention of concussions, NOCSAE and Schutt have both expressed concern that concussions are too complex an event to draw any strong conclusions by testing only one of many variables.

“NOCSAE does not recommend that parents and athletes form decisions on the safest and most effective equipment based on any single individual data point, rating, or measurement, including the Virginia Tech STAR football helmet rating system. Doing so may lead to inaccurate conclusions that one helmet brand or model has a measurably higher level of concussion protection than another for a particular athlete.”  

– Taken from NOCSAE press release

Schutt has taken their objections a step further, even though many of their helmets, such as the ION 4D and DNA Pro +, have received top STAR ratings in each test. Schutt’s objection to the Virginia Tech helmet study accuses it of prioritizing lower-velocity impacts over harder hits. In low speed impacts, softer helmet padding tends to perform better and absorb more shock, while at higher speeds, harder padding has been shown to protect players better. Typically, softer padded helmets are better at protecting younger players, who are generally not getting hit as hard as college or pro players. For instance, the Schutt 2012 AiR Standard II received a 5 STAR rating when tested by the same independent accredited lab, under the same conditions, and using the same algorithm used by Virginia Tech.

Schutt AiR Standard II 2012“While it passes the NOCSAE helmet standard, the 2012 AiR Standard II is an entry level helmet designed for younger players. The idea of putting such a helmet on a player at any high school, college or NFL team is absurd. The fact that it’s the best helmet in the STAR rating system should cause concern for anyone relying on the system for purchasing decisions.”  

– Robert Erb, President and CEO, Schutt Sports

In response to these accusations, the Virginia Tech team has admitted its limitations and explained that its STAR rating is merely meant as a research tool, not a buying guide. Their claim is that some information on the effectiveness of football helmets is better than nothing. Virginia Tech STAR Helmet RatingIn Virginia Tech’s helmet study methodology, the researchers directly describe the test’s limitations, admitting the complex, multi-faceted, and variable causes and nature of concussions. Admittedly, their numbers and rating system are simply based on trends and probabilities. While they also admit to only testing linear acceleration as well, the team explains that while all head impacts result in both linear and rotational accelerations, Virginia Tech engineers believe a correlation exists between the two forces. So, as they explore the one, they are also exploring the effects of the other. Obviously, this is a complicated issue, one based in science and sport, but also rooted in health and emotion. In our quest to provide the most well-rounded, up-to-date, and unbiased sporting goods information, we at Sports Unlimited have tried to present all of the facts and varying opinions on this developing issue. But to get the full picture, we need to hear from the people using this information and buying new helmets. So please, feel free to share your opinions and feelings on the Virginia Tech helmet ratings below! *Update: As it was not available for public purchase at the time, the Schutt Vengeance helmet was not tested in the VA Tech STAR Rating Study. However, using the same lab (Southern Impact Research Center in Rockford, TN) and publicly posted methods and algorithms as the VA Tech Study, Schutt independently tested the Vengeance, as well as others in its Varsity level helmet line. They found the Vengeance to score a STAR Value of 0.185. According to VA Tech’s publicly posted ratings, a 5-Star Helmet is rated between 0.200 – 0.299 STAR Value, while a 4-STAR helmet falls between 0.300 – 0.399 STAR Value. This would actually put the Vengeance above 5-STAR rated helmets. However, although their latest helmet is technically the highest rated, Schutt still believes the test to be inevitably flawed, and inaccurate of a helmet’s actual in-game performance and protection.

By Brandon Porter.Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

College Football Report – Is this the year it finally happens?

It’s early November, which means the college football season is officially in serious-mode.  Every game from this point forward is immensely important, especially with teams that have BCS aspirations.  Over the last few years, non-BCS schools (i.e. Boise State, Utah, TCU) have gotten oh so close to making it to the BCS Championship Game, but each time they inevitably fell short.  There was always a marquee name in their way, whether that be Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, or Texas, that just pushed those non-AQ schools to the side. But something is different this year.

This year, the mighty may have not completely fallen, but they’ve bled.  Texas has been out of the conversation for a month.  USC, who was already disqualified from a bowl this year, is 5-3.  Alabama lost to South Carolina.  Florida is a shell of its recent self.  Oklahoma lost to Missouri. Continue reading “College Football Report – Is this the year it finally happens?”