Category Archives: Youth Sports

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California Youth Football Alliance Partners With Concussion Education Program

The California Youth Football Alliance is planning to begin distributing a concussion education program called CrashCourse to parents, coaches, and youth football players as part of a new partnership with TeachAids. A portion of the online course offers content recorded in virtual reality to create an immersive learning experience.
Nonprofit organization TeachAids developed CrashCourse in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University. Founded in 2009, TeachAids has received funding from tech giants such as Google and Microsoft. CrashCourse consists of a VR demo that mimics the on-field experience of playing high school football, a concussion symptoms simulator, interactive educational videos starring prominent athletes, and 3D visual representations of the human brain.

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“Our partnership with TeachAids enables us to deliver world-class training to parents, coaches, administrators, and referees. TeachAids content combined with our Alliance Management Platform puts the very best education in the hands of our supporters, thereby raising the duty of care for our players and enabling the benefits of youth tackle football to be experienced by anyone who chooses to play,” said Joe Rafter, co-founder and president of CAYFA, in a press release.
CAYFA was founded in response to two California assembly members introducing the “Safe Youth Football Act” in April 2018. That legislation aimed to ban youth statewide from participating in tackle football before they reached high school, but was defeated before reaching a committee hearing. CAYFA instead aims to preserve youth tackle football by implementing technology and educational programs that can make the game safer.
All affiliate members associated with CAYFA will immediately begin receiving the full interactive CrashCourse program. An HD version of the program is also available for free online.
“Our partnership with California Youth Football Alliance provides us an exciting opportunity to educate parents, youth and coaches on concussions. We are delighted to join CAYFA in working to promote a safer environment in youth sport,” said Dr. Piya Sorcar, founder and CEO of TeachAids, in the press release.
SportTechie Takeaway
CAYFA also released an opposition statement in February against a Massachusetts bill aiming to ban youth tackle football in the state. Lawmakers in states such as New York and Illinois have proposed similar unsuccessful bills to ban youth tackle football. Youth football organization Pop Warner as well as high schools in Arkansas have previously partnered with TeachAids to provide participants with the CrashCourse concussion education program.


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VICIS Brings Youth Football Helmet to Market After Series B Investment From Aaron Rodgers

Football helmet technology company VICIS has completed its $28.5M Series B round of funding, which includes investment from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The company also announced the commercial availability of Zero1 Youth, its first helmet designed for youth football players.
The youth helmet maintains the same soft outer shell and protective layers engineered for VICIS’ adult helmet model, but the youth model is lighter and more compact to further protect youth football players from sustaining concussions through impact. Rodgers joins fellow NFL QBs Alex Smith and Russell Wilson as investors in VICIS. Both Smith and Wilson wear the Vicis helmet on the field. Rodgers’ investment comes via venture capital firm Rx3 Ventures.  
“We invested in VICIS because its commitment to player safety – specifically at the youth level – is one we wanted to support,” said Rodgers in a press release. “We look forward to working with VICIS as they continue to develop outstanding technologies for players at all levels.”

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While VICIS retails its Zero1 adult helmet for $950, the youth helmet will cost $495, according to TechCrunch. The helmet weighs just less than four pounds and offers the widest field of view of any kids’ helmet currently available. VICIS has now received $84 million in total investments since the Seattle-based company was founded in 2013.
SportTechie Takeaway
Separate studies conducted by the NFL/NFLPA and Virginia Tech Helmet Lab both named VICIS Zero1 as the safest football helmet available.  VICIS’ new helmet may be just as effective when worn by youth football players. But the helmet’s lofty $495 price tag may make the purchasing decision more difficult for the average American family or youth-level team. 


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