The Fresno Unified School District, addressing growing concerns over concussions in football, has purchased supplemental head padding that will be required inside the helmets of all its middle school and high school players this season.
The Gyro, produced by Unequal Technologies, is a quarter-inch-thick liner made of military-grade composite that the company says absorbs and disperses impact energy away from the head.
Fresno Unified purchased 1,700 Gyros, which retail for $59.99, and installed them ahead of contact practices.
1,700 The number of Gyros, supplemental helmet padding designed to lessen the risk of concussions, purchased by the Fresno Unified School District for all of its middle and high school football players.
“We’re trying to do the best we can to protect our kids, and we had to make sure we found the right company,” Fresno Unified interim co-athletic director Tim Carey said. “If this helps some of our kids and keeps them on the field, then why wouldn’t we do something like this.”
Unequal started with military contracts but branched into athletics in 2010 after a call from the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who wanted a better chest protector for quarterback Michael Vick as he dealt with a sternum injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison became the first player to use the Gyro after it was developed later in 2010, and the product’s use has trickled through the NFL, college and high schools. SMU outfitted its helmets with Gyros in 2014.
It might help prevent some of those blows that result in concussions. It’s not the be all, end all, but it’s a good product and I think our kids will benefit from it.
Fresno Unified co-interim athletic director Tim Carey on the Gyro, which has been placed into the helmets of all the district’s middle and high school football players
Unequal’s Gyros have been approved for use by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“First and foremost, they have the backing of the NFHS. Their research supported extremely positive results,” Carey said. “Our secretary spoke with a few coaches in Texas that have used it and they raved about the product.
“It might help prevent some of those blows that result in concussions. It’s not the be all, end all, but it’s a good product and I think our kids will benefit from it.”
The district also acquired 170 of Unequal's HALO protective headbands for soccer players. The HALO is similar to the protective headband worn by U.S. defender Ali Krieger during the women’s World Cup.
Central Section adheres to new football contact rules
Commissioner Jim Crichlow said no Central Section football teams have violated a new rule that prohibits contact during the offseason and limits teams to two days of full contact during the season.
Full-gear practice began Aug. 5.
The Sac-Joaquin Section recently disciplined nine schools for violations of CIF state bylaw 1901.B, including stripping Oakdale of six practices for engaging in contact drills during a summer camp, according to The Modesto Bee.
Placer-Auburn, Sacramento, Inderkum-Sacramento, Del Oro-Loomis, Whitney-Rocklin, Woodcreek-Roseville, El Camino-Sacramento and Lincoln also were sanctioned.
Hoover seeks boys basketball coach
Jason Le Fore has stepped down after two seasons as boys basketball coach at Hoover High, according to Carey, who also serves as the Patriots’ athletic director.
Le Fore went 22-36 overall and 7-13 in the North Yosemite League.
Carey said a search for a replacement is underway.
The school also is seeking a wrestling coach to replace Alfredo Frausto, who stepped down.