For the first time in Sports Unlimited’s history as a major equipment retailer, football shoulder pads have been added to the Sports Unlimited branded product roster. With so many years of experience selling the best shoulder pads in the world from companies such as Schutt, Riddell, Douglas, Gear Pro Tech, Xenith, X-Tech, and more, 2018 is the time to add Sports Unlimited to that list of equipment brands. Using customer feedback, extensive football gear knowledge, and an in-house design and testing team, the PROSPECT ($42.95) for youth and PROSPECT PRO ($114.95) for adult have been released. Take a look at the designs below.
The 30 years of experience Sports Unlimited has had as a retailer helps it break into selling its own products because using the millions of interactions directly with customers and seeing the successes and failures of selling other brands provides a deep knowledge of products across the category. As a small business in America, it takes creativity and the ability to change who you are to compete with the biggest stores in the world and going from a sports equipment retailer to a sports equipment brand and retailer is a necessary move to combat those challenges.
The goal for developing the Prospect line was to create superb quality, lightweight, and cheap football shoulder pads that would stand up against the already well-known brands in the industry. Football is an expensive sport to play with equipment to buy for every part of the body and dealing with so many players, parents, and coaches over the years, it’s important to provide these people that are passionate about football an option that is able to balance on the line of quality and price. If someone can afford $600 shoulder pads, a $600 football helmet, cleats, pants, girdle, gloves, jerseys, back plates, among other equipment, that’s fantastic (and Sports Unlimited can provide it), but that isn’t true of the vast majority of football players and parents. The game should be accessible. Gear should be accessible. And that shouldn’t come at the cost of quality or safety. The Prospect and Prospect Pro for youth and adult aim to make the game more accessible through low costs, but also without being ‘cheap’.
The Prospect Pro uses a flat pad design, dual density foam, and stainless steel hardware among other great features that have had first users saying it is “amazingly light, breathable, comfortable, and [gives] the best range of motion”. The youth pad is built for all positions, uses an extended body length design with double layer EVA foam. As always, the best place to look for more features and specifications for these football shoulder pads is on the product pages themselves at SportsUnlimited.com. If you want more information about the differences between the adult and youth versions of these shoulder pads you can check out our comparison page here: Adult vs. Youth Shoulder Pads Comparison.
We know the future is bright, as today’s young minds continue to astonish us all with their ingenuity. At Sports Unlimited, we understand the importance of fostering this brilliance, and continued education is a key piece to this equation. That is why the annual Sports Unlimited Scholarship was created, providing assistance to those who will drive us forward.
Requiring an essay submission on a particular topic, the scholarship is awarded to the individual who best displays creative thinking and resourcefulness. This year’s prompt asked students to identify a piece of gear or equipment currently used in a sport and describe how to improve it and why. Over a thousand essays were sent in, each of which described an innovative vision. Covering a range of sports and equipment from football to fencing, basketball to badminton.
This year’s winner took on the popular topic of football helmet improvement, but was able to pull from a unique source of inspiration. Using the design elements of the space shuttle, Paul Wasuwanich of Orlando, Florida was able to provide a compelling argument for how the football helmet should be redeveloped. And because of this, Sports Unlimited was proud to offer him a scholarship of a $1000, as he heads off to the University of Notre Dame this fall.
Astronauts and football players have a lot more in common than many might think. They both work in extreme environment and therefore require extreme protection. Astronauts must survive in the harsh environments of space full of deadly radiation, destructive space debris, and freezing temperatures. Football players, on the other hand, must survive on the dangerous football field full of 300 pound opponents ready to tackle them with up to one ton of force, about 4 times the force required to crush a human skull according the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics . To protect from such threats, engineers have devised multiple defenses to keep astronauts and football players safe. One of those defenses is the helmet.
A football helmet is as important to the player as a space helmet is to an astronaut. Fatality is imminent if that crucial device is absent. It is easy to see how a man would suffocate in space without his space helmet, but harder to visualize the internal damage a football player suffers with each blow to the head. According to statistics from the NFL, there were 271 diagnosed concussions in the 2015 season . Having closely studied the brain with my professor, Dr. Mohtashem Samsam, a neurologist from the University of Central Florida, I understand clearly that the previously mentioned 271 concussions is much more than the number suggests. Concussions result from severe head trauma, but football players receive much more head traumas that do not produce acute effects such as the concussion. A progressive degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) plagues football players who have received severe or multiple head traumas. In a 2014 study from Boston University, of 79 brains from former NFL players, 76 tested positive for CTE . Brains with CTE are similar in appearance and function to brains with Huntington’s disease.
Today, we are so used to hearing about football concussions that they have become accepted as inevitable, but they are not. Over the years, football equipment has improved, reducing the number of concussions and the severity of brain damage. No helmets became leather helmets, and leather helmets became the modern football helmets we see today. The modern helmet is still not sufficient and can be further improved to reduce the number of concussions even more.
In space, an astronaut’s first line of defense are walls of his spacecraft which are designed to protect against space debris moving at up to an astonishing 17,500 mph . This technology can be applied to the football helmet. The walls of spacecrafts come in my varieties, but they have the same basic design, multiple layers of a thin, light, hard material (e.g. aluminum alloy) with soft material (e.g. foam) in between . The goal of this defense is not to deflect the impacting object as football helmets do, but to significantly reduce the force of the object so that it would not penetrate the inner walls of the spacecraft. The outer walls of the spacecraft do two things to prevent penetration of the spacecraft, one of those is increasing the time it takes the object to hit inner walls. It is a physics concept shown by the formula:
I = FΔt
I = Impulse or change in momentum
F = Force
Δt = Change in time
In this case, the impulse is constant, so by increasing the time of impact, we can decrease the force of object when it hits in the inner wall. Having alternating layers of hard and soft defenses means the object or shock wave must pass through multiple materials with different properties. It takes a shock wave more time to pass through two different materials than one material of the same amount. The football helmet should be designed as such: A thin outer layer of a hard, light material (e.g. carbon fiber), followed by a soft material (e.g. foam), a hard material again, a soft material again, then a thick hard layer, and finally a soft cushion for the head.
Other than increasing the time of impact, the outer walls of the spacecraft also deforms. Deformation, unlike deflection, absorbs the energy of the impact. A football player wearing a helmet that deforms on impact will experience less force to the head than a football player wearing a helmet that deflects the impact force. The reason cars crumble in crashes is not because of the force of impact, but because engineers designed the car to absorb as much energy as possible by deforming in order to protect the driver. Although football helmets that deform on impact will have to be frequently replaced, it is worth the improvement in safety.
Broken bones can heal, torn muscles can be repaired, but dead brain cells cannot be replaced, therefore, head protection in a sport as aggressive as American football is of uttermost importance.
Sports Unlimited would like to thank all of those who submitted an essay for this year’s scholarship. We will be sharing a few of our other finalist’s ideas in the near future. The prompt for the 2018 Sports Unlimited Scholarship will be available soon, so be sure to check back!
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.
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.
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.
‘Getting caught in the rain’ is usually a phrase we hold with a negative connotation. Same goes for ‘when it rains, it pours’. This year though, maybe it’s time we buck the trend and start enjoying the days when the clouds well up and let out. Exploring a trail or strolling the historic district in a major American city (like our beloved Philadelphia), is totally altered by the weather in which you find yourself. Often, we have the luxury of choosing the days in which we go for a hike or do some urban exploring and we reserve those activities for the sunny days, but you might find something profoundly beautiful, different, and even liberating if you quit hiding from the rain and get out there.
Obviously, if you’re going to take the daring route, you’ll want to have the right gear to make sure that trip in the rain doesn’t ruin your electronics or have you too cold to bear it. Maybe we’re crazy here at Sports Unlimited, but we have an affinity towards getting out and doing things no matter the weather. That’s why we carry our favorite brands so that you (and we) are equipped to make the most of any day, any weather, rain or shine. Enjoy our selection of Columbia Rain Gear with Free Shipping.
If you’re looking for a great deal to close out the year and start the new year with a running start, you’re looking right at one. Take $20 off your order (over $100) because nothing says Happy New Year like twenty bucks in your pocket and some sweet new gear. New Year’s resolutions are a great for self-improvement and many resolutions are fitness related. We’d love to be a part of your resolution and help you out a bit by giving you a deal that kick-starts your fitness. Find the sale at SportsUnlimited.com.
Have a truly happy new year and may this year be your healthiest yet.
We’re at the time of year when shipping deadlines MATTER. There is still time to get your gifts delivered by Christmas Eve and even with awesome deals. Just take a look at the graphic to get an idea of when you need to place your order and what shipping method to choose to guarantee that the package arrives in time!
On section and product pages, look for the “Get It By The 24th” tag to make sure that the item you want is in stock in our warehouse so we can ship it out fast enough to guarantee December 24th delivery! Items that are marked “leaves warehouse in X days” ship from a different warehouse and we unfortunately cannot guarantee delivery dates for those items.
Expedited Ground (Free on orders over $99): 5 AM ET – Friday, Dec. 19th
Express (50% OFF!): 3 PM ET – Monday, Dec. 22nd
Next Day Air (50% OFF!): 3 PM ET – Tuesday, Dec. 23rd
We’re keeping our holiday sales rolling with our Jingle sale this week where you can save $5, $15, or $25 depending on how much you spend at SportsUnlimited.com. These sales don’t last forever, so get your holiday shopping done with guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery.