GelDefender Impact Players

  • GelDefender Impact Players: Harry Carson

     

    Our final GelDefender Impact Player is Class of 2006 Hall of Famer Harry Carson. During his 13 years with the New York Giants, Carson suffered his share of concussions (about 10), and now he’s paying for it with post-concussion syndrome.

     

    He has made it his mission to educate others about the dangers of head injury in sports, having experienced the consequences (even, by his own admission, suicidal thoughts). He speaks at high schools and concussion forums to raise awareness and reaches out to those who are already suffering to get them help. He says if he knew the cost when he first started playing, he wouldn’t have played football at all. And though there’s nothing he can do about that decision now, he can and is spreading the word both to those who are now making that choice, so they can make educated decisions, and to those who have already suffered head injury.

     

    It was almost assumed that, when 4,000 other former NFL players started a lawsuit against the NFL, the outspoken Carson would join up – he was even asked to be a lead complainant. But he said no. Asked why?

     

    “People will think that I'm only speaking out for my own financial well-being," he said to Newsweek. "It's more important for me to deliver the message but allow it to stay pure and not have it be influenced by money."

     

    So for his tireless efforts to promote head injury awareness and his open and honest participation in the conversation surrounding the consequences, we name Harry Carson our final Impact Player.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefenderTM products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • GelDefender Impact Players: Kurt Warner

     

    The next GelDefender Impact Player is former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Though he is no longer playing, he still is heavily involved in football conversation and has a significant voice.

     

    In his last season playing, Warner was the target of a suspected bounty hit – a very hard hit – in a game against the Saints. He knows more than anyone how the football’s culture has traditionally encouraged magnifying the violence inherent in the sport, rather than tempering it. He knows what it’s like to play through a potential head injury because stepping out of the game would be frowned upon. He also knows the long-term effects TBI can have, because one of his sons has suffered nearly his whole life from head injury.

     

    So, knowing what he knows about head injury and with these experiences under his belt, he said on the Dan Patrick Show in 2012 that he worried over his sons playing the game that gave him his livelihood. He said that he had come down definitively on the question plaguing the minds of parents everywhere: Do I want my child playing football, knowing what I know about the risk of long-term head injury? He said no, he doesn’t, but that it’s still his children’s decision.

     

    He came under heavy fire for that assertion. His critics called him uneducated and accused him of “throwing football under the bus” after all it’s done for him. And though Warner later issued a statement detailing all the things about football he still loved, he held firm that the violence is a serious matter that needs thought and attention.

     

    "I think it's going to take a whole culture change from top to bottom to say our No. 1 priority is the player," he once told CNN. "That it's not money and it's not how far you go in the playoffs."
    And so for his honest and open discussion in regard to head injuries and his continued insistence on the need for greater head safety for players, we name Kurt Warner as the third GelDefender Impact Player.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefenderTM products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • GelDefender Impact Players: Drew Brees

     

    Our next GelDefender Impact Player is the current highest-paid player in the NFL, the record-setting Drew Brees. As quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, he is making a stand against head injury, particularly in youth sports.

     

    One of the biggest initiatives he’s taken is a recent partnership with the Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation’s program called PACE – Protecting Athletes Through Concussion Education. The program supplies more than 3,300 middle and high schools and youth sports organizations with free concussion testing using the ImPact system. The concussion evaluation device, used by all NFL and many NHL teams, takes a scientific baseline measurement of cognitive function before a potential concussion to compare with after a hit.

     

    That’s not the only step Brees has taken in educating young players about head injury. In April, he dropped in unexpectedly on a Helmets on Heads program in New Orleans to talk with students about helmet safety and the importance of academics. And last Tuesday he joined a was part of a panel discussing head injury issues, along with former U.S. national goalkeeper Briana Scurry, former NHL goalie Mike Richter, and former NFL linebacker Carl Banks.

     

    It’s no secret that young athletes pay attention when high-profile players like Brees talk. So when he tells them that “getting their bells rung” could really mean “concussion” and shouldn’t be brushed off, they’ll listen, possibly better than when their parents or even their coaches tell them. And for his willingness to dedicate time and energy toward raising awareness among our youth, he has earned his place as the second GelDefender Impact Player.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefenderTM products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

  • GelDefender Impact Players: Willie Lanier

     

    Willie Lanier, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker from 1967-77 and Pro Football Hall of Famer since 1986, takes a well-deserved place as the first GelDefender Impact Player. He was renowned for the hard hits he delivered during his rookie season until the game during which he took a knee to his head. He shook off the wooziness from what he knew to be a concussion and continued as normal until the game a week later, when he suddenly collapsed during a break in play. He didn’t regain consciousness for two hours. Eventually, the Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with a subdural hematoma: he was bleeding into his brain.

     

    Once he’d recovered and was back in the game, Lanier decided that in order to protect himself, changes needed to be made. He chose to wear a modified helmet with extra padding on the outside to protect his head, an early approximation of what GelDefender is doing now.

     

    He also resolved to never again lead with his head when tackling, instead wrapping himself around opponents. Between his first and second season, his nickname changed from “Contact” to “Honey Bear.” Looking back, having achieved both a wildly successful career and good health today at age 67, he has no reason to regret the concessions he made to protect himself.

     

    Today, Lanier is a member of the NFL's Player Safety Advisory Committee and works to encourage other players to follow his example to take ownership of their own head’s safety by playing safer and smarter.

     

    *Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefenderTM products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.

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