With safety concerns mounting and new concussion research taking place every season, the football helmet has quickly become one of the most scrutinized pieces of protective apparel in sports.
Each year, manufacturers introduce new technologies to make their helmets more equipped to handle head impacts, rotational forces and linear impacts that occur during standard course of play. And now there are two laboratory studies that give us even more insight into how football helmets work.
For the past several years, Schutt has followed a similar pattern when it comes to releasing new football helmets: take a recognizable helmet shell and tweak the padding inside.
While this strategy hasn’t exactly changed the face (or head) of football, it has strengthened Schutt’s position when it comes to helmet safety. The Litchfield, Illinois-based manufacturer now owns five of the top six ranked helmets in the Virginia Tech Helmet Study and has six styles that have earned five star rankings. Those numbers figure to increase in the 2017 study with the recent release of the Schutt Air XP Pro Q10 Adult Football Helmet.
Following on the heels of 2016’s new offering, the Vengeance Z10, Schutt has taken its Helmet Stabilization System and applied it to the classic Air XP shell in the Q10. The system uses both internal and external stabilizers around the jaw area to give players a more locked in feel. Special jaw pads, also used in the Z10, work in unison with newly designed facemasks to provide addition protection to the side of players’ faces by extending above the helmet shell.
Other than the shell design, the biggest difference between the new Q10 and last year’s Z10 is in the front padding. The Z10 uses traditional foam wrapped in a faux leather comfort pad, while the Q10 has shifted away from that and put TPU throughout the entire helmet, including underneath the newly designed front pad. The lighter padding brings he helmet’s weight down to 2.95 pounds without a facemask. That weight doesn’t increase much when you add an included titanium facemask in your choice of style and color.
While the Q10 has yet to be rated by the Virginia Tech study, Schutt’s track record shows that if they’re releasing a new helmet, it’s sure to be given a 5-star rating. Look for the Q10 to start popping up on NFL and college fields during this spring’s mini camps or get your own on SportsUnlimited.com today.
There’s no better place to find a Christmas gift for that special football player in your life than here at Sports Unlimited. We offer the largest in-stock selection of football gear anywhere online and we’re ready to ship it to you with plenty of time to get it under the tree by Christmas day. Here are some of our top picks this holiday season.
If you’ve been watching football in the last two years – and we know you have – you’re probably familiar with the SpeedFlex. It’s the football helmet with the unique cutout panel in the front of the shell that’s recognizable from the youth field all the way up to the NFL. Aside from its stunning aesthetic, the SpeedFlex is one of the most protective helmets on the market with a specially designed facemask and chinstrap working in unison with the helmet’s shell to keep you safe.
The past year or so has been tough on linemen. With the NFL, NCAA and some states banning the popular Big Grill facemask, the big guys have had a tough time choosing their look. But the facemask companies have adapted to the new rules and came up with facemasks built to intimidate. Riddell now offer the Riddell S2BDC-TX-LW facemask that has a similar look to the ultra-popular Big Grill 2.0. Schutt also took note, adding a Schutt ROPO-DW Pro facemask style to fit their Vengeance models. The titanium construction keeps the weight down, making it easier to keep your head up during play.
Nothing completes the look of a football helmet like a visor and while there are plenty of options on the market, few compare to the Oakley Eyeshield. The most popular football visor, Oakley has tweaked the optics to perfection giving you a clear view of the field and keeping opponents fingers out of your face. With a variety of sticker colors, you can customize the visor to your own team specifications. The clear version is legal in all leagues, making it the safest gift option, but a dark version like the 20 percent grey visor could also do the trick.
Extra protection is always a good thing, making the Douglas Back Plate an easy choice for anyone looking for a last-minute gift. Made in the USA by one of the most trusted names in the football business, this back plate is one of the top accessories in the game. It’s available in a wide range of colors to ensure you can match your team’s colorway and attaches to almost any brand of shoulder pad. You can also opt for a four-inch version of the back plate for smaller or youth players.
I remember waking up Christmas morning so excited to see what Santa brought me. What kind of new gadget or toy would be my favorite? Crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t be clothes! You know, when you’re 8, 9 or 10 years old the last thing you want is a new pair of PJs.
So parents and grandparents here is your guide to ensure you are the cool parent that gets something your boys will love.
#1 Space Scooter X580 Scooter
The Space Scooter X580 Scooter is the hottest gift this year. No more pushing off with your back foot to propel yourself forward. Just hop on the X580 and use a teeter-totter motion to ride. Ride faster and further than a traditional scooter! It’s rated for kids and adults up to 200lbs and it folds for easy storage. Price: $149.95
#2 Stiga Stanley Cup Table Hockey Game
I used to love playing table hockey back in the mid-80s. The problem with the hockey games then was the puck always used to get stuck behind the net where you’re player couldn’t get it. That’s no longer the case with the Stiga Stanley Cup Table Hockey Game. This game is well built. The players all move back and forth and spin in circles smoothly.
The puck doesn’t get stuck and on hard slap shots it doesn’t leave the rink. The extended plexi shields behind the goal keep the puck in play. It’s just a great game to play with your son or for him to play with his friends. Price: $109.95
Remember the days sledding with the Flexible Flyer steel runner sled? Well, check out the 21st century edition. The Wham-O SnowBoogie Fantom-X Winter Snow Sled will make all the other kids in the neighborhood jealous. The Fantom has so much going for it. It’s great for both single and two-person riding. The driver gets the fun of using the handlebar style control to easily maneuver down the hill. The frame is constructed of metal alloy to endure many seasons of sledding. And no more riding on a wood platform. The lightweight nylon mesh seat is much more comfortable. Come on Mom, hop on with your boy and take a ride! Price: $99.95
Here’s another classic game that is sure to take you back to your childhood. The Park & Sun Portable Tetherball Set is very well made and it’s portable so you can take in anywhere. This set features a tripod base and center pole anchor which is best set up in and area with firm grass/soil. There is no need to dig a hole and pour cement! It comes complete with the nylon cord and tetherball. The galvanized steel pole is made to last! Price: $69.95
This is a simple gift but it’s one that is enjoyed by many dads and sons for generations. This Under Armour 395 Junior Football is a great choice. I prefer this over the Wilson version because the softness and grip. The junior size and grip make it easy for kids to throw and catch. It also won’t break the bank. Price: $24.95
Any of these gifts are ones that will bring a smile to a little boys’ face on Christman morning. They are also toys that are best played with two people. And isn’t the fun of Christmas playing with your kids and grandkids?!?!
You know the one. Well made and durable, rolling wheels, stick holders on the side and plenty of space for all the gear.
It’s the best ice hockey bag on the market and it’s almost unfair to compare it to conventional hockey bags. What Grit has done has built a portable hockey locker that you can take anywhere.
The Grit hockey bag is at is best when it’s standing straight up – a break from tradition with normal bags. It essentially contains shelving inside that gives you space to put all your gear. It’s great for when you get to the ice, but it may be even better when you’re leaving the house and making sure you have everything with you. The top shelf contains compartments for your skates and helmet. The second level has plenty of space for your elbow pad and gloves, while your shin guards, shoulder pads and hockey pants can easily fit below. Everything is clearly in view to leave little doubt that you’ve got all the equipment you need for a game or practice. No more showing up with one skate or elbow pad because you assumed the other was stuffed beneath your pants. The simple organizational elements will make sure you’re prepared every time you leave the house.
Another great feature of a Grit hockey bag is its air flow, essential for keeping your portable locker from smelling like, well, a locker. The reinforced plastic that makes up the back of the bag has holes punched in it and a mesh covering to promote air flow. It also features several removable mesh compartment and two mesh compartments on the side that are great for holding a pair of slides, socks or any other items that need to be aired out before or after play.
A zippered front pocket increases storage space and includes straps for two water bottles with enough room left for tape and other small personal items. Another extra feature is a carpeted pull out piece for standing on while you’re changing. It beats standing on a wet, slippery floor.
Two stick holders on the sides of the Grit hockey bag allow you to transport your main stick and a backup very easily. There’s even an attachable shoulder strap if you prefer to go old school and not take advantage of the wheels.
The scooter craze is real and as Christmas is approaching, now’s the time to get in the game. One of the more innovative models – the Space Scooter X580 – takes a traditional cruising scooter and adds a twist. Instead of the traditional kicking needed to propel you forward, Space Scooters allow you to keep both feet on the deck and use a pump and go motion to keep you on the move.
The unique design comes from the Netherlands where one in three kids own a scooter. Instead of flooding the market with more of the same, Space Scooter wanted to do something different – help people get around while also keeping them active. Enter the pump and go action, which allows you to pedal the scooter. The X580 can also adjust to a normal mode where you can still use your foot to move you forward.
The X580 has built in safety features that make it great for kids. The sturdy board is built to hold people up to 200 pounds and it’s fully ASTM compliant. A wheel safety lock prevents it from rolling backward, keeping you upright and on the move. Fitted with a hand break and kickstand, the X580 is easy to store. The scooter simply folds up to fit into tight spaces and to make it easy to carry.
As Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were mowing down hitters one-by-one during Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, you had to wonder… maybe it had something to do with the target.
Behind the plate was unquestioned Game 1 hero Roberto Perez, clad in his All-Star Catcher’s Gear, managing his pitchers through the most important game of the season. The Indians catcher watched as they struck out 15 batters, cooling off a red-hot Chicago Cubs team that had just plated 23 runs in three games to reach the Fall Classic.
Perez provided the pop on offense too, clubbing a solo shot in the fourth to fire up the Cleveland fans early and adding a three-run blast in the eighth to essentially put the game away.
Was it in the gear? Perez was wearing perhaps the best catcher’s set in the game. The System 7 is chosen by catchers across the highest level of baseball for its incredible level of craftsmanship and exceptional durability. The two-toned helmet is both stylish and lightweight, while the chest protector provides a consistent rebound.
While his pitchers weren’t missing the zone often, Perez had the support of triple knee protection in his shin guards to block errant balls. A four-point harness system allows for the best fit and oversized perforations keep players from overheating. It’s a set that’s been popping up around the major leagues and for the second year in a row is showcased in the World Series.
So what are you waiting for? Also offered as a camo catcher’s set, the System 7 is one of the most popular pieces of equipment at Sports Unlimited. Check it out, along with our vast selection of catcher’s gear, today!
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’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.