USWNT Player Wears Unequal Halo Headgear During Women’s World Cup
The U.S National Women’s Soccer Team begins play today against Australia in the 2015 FIFA World Cup and defender Ali Krieger will wear the Unequal Halo™ headgear for performance protection to help minimize the risk of another concussion. Their military grade protection Kevlar based sports technology enhanced product has a patented fusion of TriDur®, Accelleron® and other materials inside designed, engineered and tested to offer customized and concealed protection. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with Unequal Technologies Company, EVP, Marketing & Media, Jim Caldwell, about their tech for various sport, what the WWC 15 exposure since January means for girls and women that play soccer across the nation and around the world, and why they do not advertise and rely on word of mouth to get the word out. As they say around Unequal, the green is good.
Unequal Halo At WWC
At 7:30 tonight EST from Investors Field in Winnipeg, Canada, the USWNT plays their first #WWC15 soccer match versus the Aussie women, a team that has never beating the formidable US squad. Look for number 10 or 11 on the pitch in a Team USA uniform because that is Krieger and she plans to wear the Halo during the game televised on TV at FOX (U.S.), TSN 1, RDS 2 (Canada), BBC Two (U.K.), SBS One (Australia) while also streaming live online at FOX Sports Go and FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.), TSN (Canada), BBC iPlayer (U.K.), SBS (Australia) according to Live Soccer TV.
Halo ASTM Certified | FIFA Law 4 Approved
The HALO is proven protective headband that is a combination of Unequal’s patented supplemental padding highlighted by the TriDur™ and Accelleron® composite. Unequal Halo is ASTM certified and a FIFA Law 4 approved headband because the TriDur patented, hermetically sealed aramid fabric in use by the military and law enforcement.
Rob Vito, CEO and inventor of Unequal, based in Glen Mills, PA, says, “With Unequal’s experience in developing protective solutions for the armed forces, law enforcement and governmental agencies as well as impact sports, placing this important technology in what looks like a normal headband was an exciting challenge. We are thrilled that an elite player like Ali is choosing the Unequal Halo for protection in the biggest event of her career. It’s intense validation of our mission to protect athletes.”
The fabric is 10mm thin and five times stronger than steel while absorbing and dispersing high impact energy. Krieger’s Halo has a custom fit that contours to any players’ head shape for maximum coverage and appears to be a headband, while offering a tight fit and measurable protection because of its adjustability.
Steve Holeman is the former Head Coach at the University of Georgia, University of Mississippi and Auburn University and is the current Chairman of Unequal’s Soccer Advisory Board. He said,“To see world-class women soccer players taking head protection seriously is an exciting development for the sport. Females are at a risk of sustaining a concussion at a rate generally known to be second only to American football (per 10,000 athletic exposures). With the technology and science behind the Unequal Halo, I truly believe this is the product of the future in our sport.
The reason Krieger decided to wear Unequal is because she experienced a second concussion on April 10th, during the Washington Spirit’s season opener. Youth and adult football players worldwide are reporting concussions at alarming rates because of four actions, head to ground hits, head to head blows, head to posts, and headers.
Last May, she wore it for the U.S. team’s final three friendly matches against team Ireland, Mexico and South Korea. “I had never worn protective headgear before so I was surprised how comfortable, and lightweight the Unequal Halo is,” claimed Krieger. “The fact that that it helps protect me and does not affect ball control made the decision easy to continue wearing it in the World Cup and beyond. I have learned the hard way that concussions are not fun. Unequal has empowered and bolstered my confidence coming back my most recent concussion.”
Fully adjustable Unequal Halo™ Headgear comes in many colors and features both 6mm (FIFA Law 4 Approved) and 10mm (FIFA Law 4 Approved and ASTM Certified) thicknesses. Other supplemental head protection from Unequal includes the GYRO® for football, the SOLO® for lacrosse, baseball, hockey or action sports, and the DOME® for soft baseball caps.
About Unequal Technologies
Unequal Technologies company mission is to protect people so they can perform at their peak in the military, sports, work and life. Its patented fusion of a military-grade composite made of TriDur®, Accelleron® and optional ImpacShield® is engineered for customized, concealed protection. Professionals in the NFL, MLB, NHL and X Games, as well as thousands of collegiate and youth athletes in football, baseball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, action sports, contact sports and other activities, wear Unequal’s protective head and body gear. Unequal’s technology is protected by 85 Worldwide patents with many more pending. Its products have been tested by independent, accredited laboratories, OEM facilities and top universities. An attendee at last year’s White House Concussion Summit, Unequal is recognized as a Forbes’ 100 Most Promising Companies, ESPN‘s Top 15 Best Sports Innovations, the No. 1 tech innovation of 2013 by Esquire.com and winner of the DuPont™ Kevlar® Innovation Award. For more information, visit http://www.unequal.com
Sports Techie, the intellectual property alone of having 85 patents and another 85 more patent pending not only gives the company financial value as a business but it also separates them from all competitors in the emerging space. Caldwell feels they are a young Under Armour type of opportunity. Unequal is privately held and have been in talks with Goldman Sachs about investment several times.
The Women’s World Cup is being played on turf rather than grass as the Men’s tournament is so I asked him if the Halo worked any different on grass and turf. Since nothing can prevent a concussion, Caldwell said it does not offer protection from sustaining these kinds of high impact and low impact hits but it does minimize the risks associated with big and small blows to the head. Remember, nothing on the market can prevent concussions. Foam will eventually flatten out and not provide much protection.
Because of the recent scandals, I asked Caldwell if it costs money to obtain a FIFA Law 4 title and to the best of his knowledge, there are no fees.
I wanted to know if they had been contacted on behalf of the class action lawsuit in place by parents of youth soccer players against U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), to which Caldwell said he was unaware of the pending lawsuit, and furthermore their company is relatively new to the category covering the last six months. #SportsTechie touched on this lawsuit you can read more about via this link.
NFL All-Pro defensive back Joe Haden is an Unequal endorser. Super Bowl winner quarterback Kurt Warner is a firm believer in Unequal sports tech and an example of their people telling people marketing approach. While he was on the Dan Patrick show, Warner shared that he was nervous about his kids starting to play youth football. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook and almost feel like I know his kids because he is transparent with his love for them on social media so understand his concern as a parent myself. Not wanting to prevent his kids from experiencing youth football he did his due diligence and discovered Unequal products and bought them for his children to use. His kids wore the body armor, including the supplemental head padding named Gyro that drops inside of a helmet, the Invincible shirt that acts as rib padding and the Vapor Girdle padding. Eventually he purchased all the gear for the entire team. Now Warner is signed up to speak on behalf of the company as a true believer in their sports technology –centric wares.
QB Michael Vick was their first high profile user because of rib injuries after he was released from jail, Caldwell said, “Headlines around the country said the dog killer signs his first deal.” You may have seen their CEO discussing Unequal with Ed Werder on sideline of a MNF game.
I was interested in knowing about lacrosse protection since I have been around the sport as a player, coach and ref for over 30 years. Jim feels there is no better protection for a lax player then what Unequal offers technology wise and via the dispersal of energy. Look for new Unequal business development activities surround lacrosse to be announced soon.
My Aunt Nancy raises and rides Portofino horses and will be happy to know that Unequal plans to produce new products for the equestrian industry and union with a retro fit that aims to create a sea of change for the better of riders.
In the embedded video you see a slope style skier crash and break her helmet during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games but thanks to her Unequal helmet liner she was safe from possible devastating injuries to the skull and brain.
Youth sports athletes tend to have weaker necks, less coordination and their gear is considered subpar when compared to elite collegiate and professional athletes gear. Even though kids are not colliding with as much force as adults they are still highly susceptible to concussions, TBI and even CTE. Caldwell wants the awareness engine that the Sports Techie blog and social network provides to inform children, parents and coaches about the facts. I have read that young girls have softer skulls than boys and women do so it make sense that headgear like the Halo would help reduce the risks for their demographic group.
Unequal does help reduce the risk but does not eliminate concussions or sub concussive impacts. Just in case, they have liability insurance in the amount of $12 million in place in case it is ever needed. One helmet fallacy he wanted to let people know about is they can assume a football helmet warranty if needed but manufacturers like Riddell and Schutt Sports that claim any alternation of their helmets decertifies it is indeed false since NOCSAE says it does not. Their ASTM classification for soccer was conducted by the one lab in the country.
Unequal has impact protection gear ready to go off the shelf at Soccer.com and Eastbay.com in addition to a few other retailers for $39.99 and $29.99 respectively but they are not available yet to buy at any national chains like Dicks Sporting Goods and Sports Authority.
So whether you are an action sports athlete, SMU collegiate player or Tony Romo, or the two World Cup players on Team Mexico and the leading player on Team Ecuador, #unequalprotects.
See y’all later in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world.
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