Kyle sent a message to Herbert Fisk Johnson III Chairman and CEO, S. C. Johnson Son – email address that said:
Dear Mr. Johnson
My name is Kyle, I'm the founder and Executive Director of Helmets to Heal (H2H). I'm an assistant football coach at Racine Horlick High School. I created this charity to decrease the risk of brain injuries (concussions) in youth football. My partners and I are trying to change the culture, and voluntarily instilling a more proactive concussion protocol. On June 3, 2016 I asked the company for whom I work (GE Healthcare) to consider donating money to purchase better helmets to youth football players in all of Racine. Being an employee, I knew that GE signed a 3 year, 60 million dollar contract with the NFL to produce an MRI machine that would be able to fully scan the brain and properly treat a patient with CTE. As of today the only way a doctor can determine whether a person has suffered from CTE is after that person is deceased.
In this short time, Helmets to Heal; a not for profit charity, has raised money and donated 60 Xenith Epic football helmets (2015 NFL Health and Safety Helmet of the Year) to three Racine high schools and 1 local youth program. Next year we are rolling out a more sustainable and safer concussion awareness program directed at the peewee levels. This program is a 100% voluntary and so far we are working with peewee leagues in Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Waukesha. In 2017, we are looking to donate 300 of the best football helmets and 1000 King-Devick concussion testing programs and the tablets to administer this testing to youth football programs. Realistically we understand that helmets can't prevent all concussions in the game today. Recent studies have shown that with the use and availability of these two products it will lower the risk of a concussion and more importantly lower the risk of unnoticed and untreated concussions. This is something that must happen to sustain the game and increase the currently decreasing participation. Having been involved first hand as a former high school football coach, it is very noticeable that participation has dropped considerably throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. The recent decrease in participation numbers has also affected other communities throughout the country.
I'm sure you are aware that the real truth is that parents are scared to allow their child to play tackle football. Statistics show that football's crumbling foundation is not recovering as fast as first thought. The NFL and the big helmet manufacturers are truly trying to increase helmet safety. With research and development cost increasing, the prices of high end football helmets are increasing proportionally. Can families, let alone local football programs afford to equip every player with the safest equipment? Sadly, they cannot.With such low chances for these youth athletes to be lucky enough to reach the collegiate or professional levels, we have to ask ourselves one question. Is the lack funding jeopardizing our kids' futures? This is why concussion safety has to be looked at and steps need to be taken to provide safer equipment for every youth athlete.
Building personal relationships with parents and players is our first step. H2H wants to be the advocate for these families by uncovering the secrets behind brain injuries in the sport. With the donated equipment and education we can build a successful safety program for the rest of football nation to model. We believe more than ever that implementing this safety program could change the future direction of the game, and reassure parents that the reward for their child outweighs the risk. The helmets that we have donated to local Racine youth programs are proven to be considerably safer. Studies have shown that every helmet today is sold as a 5 star helmet. The most important question isnt being asked, however. We need to consider whether the padding inside is 5 star as well. In the community we are working in, these questions are being asked. Youth players should not have to be wealthy to wear the finest protection, this protection should be given to all. This is what Helmets to Heal is all about. We want to work with any program interested in our help with concussion safety. Big companies like GE wants to see numbers and how this helps multiple communities. As one big football family we can hopefully receive big donations and grants and allow future generations to play the game a little safer. We all want the best for our kids. I just hope that in creating Helmets to Heal,we can help build a safer and brighter future for all youth football players.
Please help us implement these much needed safety steps for future generations to come. I appreciate your taking the time to read this, and hope you have a happy and healthy New Year.