July 4, 2021
Drew Brees’ Football ‘N’ America flag football league is growing. The organization also recognized safety against head-related injuries could occur even in flag football. Drew Brees and LIGHT Helmets have partnered to help protect athletes at all levels and educate parents, coaches, and players about the urgent need for head protection in flag football.
YOUTH HEAD IMPACT SAFETY IN FLAG FOOTBALL
Many may consider flag football as a non-contact sport and would not correlate head impacts to the sport’s youth athletes. The converse is valid for its players. A CDC study showed at practices and games, “flag football athletes experienced a median of 8 eight head impacts per athlete during the season. If compared to ‘youth tackle football, a mean of 378 head impacts can occur per athlete.”
Safety was a primary concern for Drew Brees in his 20 NFL seasons at an elite quarterback. LIGHT Helmets entered into a partnership with Brees’ to address the increase in head-related traumas Football ‘N’ America noticed in its first year of operation. Drew Brees have partnered together to help protect athletes at all levels and educate parents, coaches, and players about the urgent need for head protection in flag football.
ESAYIAN ON LIGHT HELMETS, FLAG FOOTBALL
LIGHT Helmets CEO and founder Nicholas Esayian mentioned to me, “he [Brees] knows that flag football is growing, and nobody plans on having contact in playing flag football. That’s one of the reasons you play flag football. But we all know that, whether it’s basketball, whether it’s playing football, whether it’s soccer, you still have pretty serious impacts. And, your kids are looking up at the ball, and they collide or head to ground or head to knee injuries. The goal in all of these sports first is to make sure that the kids participate but they participate safely. Then you want them to learn life lessons. You want them to have fun, but the first thing is safety.”
The LIGHT Helmets products received the highest ratings (five stars) for manufactured soccer headgear, flag football, and tackle football helmets by Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech’s impact tests evaluate a “headgear’s ability to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head resulting from impacts a flag football player might experience on the field.” The headgear receiving more stars equates to reducing concussion risk compared to other headgear with fewer stars. LIGHT Helmet’s SS1 received a perfect 5-star rating.
“We quickly realized that the exploding sports of flag football and soccer didn’t have headgear that provided adequate protection – this is the reason we developed the SS1 specifically for these sports,” explained Nicholas Esayian.
DREW BREES & ESAYIAN ON FNA-LIGHT HELMETS PARTNERSHIP
Drew Brees, Founder FNA, explained, “Flag football is where I started, Football ‘N’ America (FNA) is my passion, and identifying the best equipment available for the athletes was important to me. The LIGHT SS1 earned the best impact and coverage results ever recorded by the independent helmet rating lab of Virginia Tech. My goal is to ensure the kids learn the game(s), have fun and utilize the best equipment available. LIGHT provides that equipment, and we are proud to partner with them.”
The Football ‘N’ America league will expand from its 24 sites across the country to a projected 48 sites.
So, most of the flight kids that are still playing and nobody’s wearing headgear helmets, and we started to look in that space [flag football], and you know we have started in the hardshell football space,” said Esayian. In our discussion, Esayian shared other aspects of what sets LIGHT Helmets apart from their competition, the costs and weight of the helmets.
“This helmet is made from all the materials that are used in the military, military helmet. So instead of plastic and steel face masks, we use what people know is Kevlar. It’s called tri-weave. It’s composite. That’s where football helmets weigh about half of what a traditional football helmet weighs. Which means there’s less energy in the impact when your head starts snapping around. It’s just a better product,” noted Esayian.
ADVANTAGES OF LIGHT HELMET IN FLAG FOOTBALL
Esayian gave me one factor the average parent can relate to for their kids; the cost is reasonable. Most competitors’ soft helmets are priced up to $120.00, the Light Helmet for flag football costs “just under $100.00.”
Esayian pointed out, “for the level of protection, it provides, and it doesn’t add weight and the beauty of it is it’s a softer foam…if our heads hit, at minimum, you’re going to have a big bruise or a black eye, or cut and require some stitches. But this thing absorbs force. It’s the same material that’s in an auto racing helmet or a tackle football helmet. So it protects the user, but it also protects other people that are on the field.”
“Drew Brees and Football ‘N’ America were the perfect partners as they understood the safety benefits of advanced materials and lighter weight in helmets and headgear.”
The LIGHT SS1 for flag football includes a drawstring mesh bag, a colored decal kit to match most team colors and comes in a wide range of sizes that cover very young players to adult athletes.
Esayian envisions that other sports and life applications could be great channels for Light Helmets in our conversation.
“When you’re in a huddle, or when you’re in a soccer team or hockey team or whatever it is, you’re working with these kids. They’re all different. Their parents are different. Their family structures, different color, their skin’s different, their sexual identities’ different, it’s all different. But, when it’s third and eight, and you walk up to the line, and there’s that one second before the ball snap. Everybody is on one team. And the other thing is that you have to respect the game and the competition.”
Nicholas Esayian, CEO and Founder, Light Helmets
For Esayian, Light Helmets’ goal is to be the primary product in either flag, Pop Warner, high school, college, or professional football, hoping to help make the game and life safer for all participants.