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Grand Haven Football heading onto the field in new head gear

They are the second West Michigan football team to be outfitted in VICIS ZERO1 helmets, which are top-ranked for safety and backed by Virginia Tech research.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. - Through generous donation, the football players at Grand Haven High School will be heading onto the field with some of  the best technology in football helmets this season.

The donation was made by Karl Chapel, owner of Grand Haven Custom Molding. Players this year will be outfitted with VICIS ZERO1 helmets, designed to better protect from getting concussions during play. 

"Brain safety for our athletes is a critical priority," says Scott Robertson, GHAPS Athletic Director. "I was a football player my whole life, and I've taken part in the studies that Boston University is doing. Our #1 priority is doing everything we can to protect our kids."

The helmet was created after a three-year, $20 million research project using technology developed by athletes, engineers and neurosurgeons, and is proven to decrease concussions. The district did some research of its own and was impressed by the quality and safety features of the ZERO1. 

But the helmets cost more than twice what other high quality helmets cost, and to buy a helmet for every high school player, grades 9-12, would cost the district more than $72,000. Thanks to a generous $50,000 donation by Karl Chapel, the district was able to purchase the new helmets.

"Ultimately, how can we put our kids in anything but the best?" says Robertson. "But the cost was far beyond what our budget - in fact, what most high school budgets - would allow. So we started problem solving - and that led us to Mr. Chapel and Grand Haven Custom Molding. We could not have done this without him."

Grand Haven is the second West Michigan high school to make the switch to VICIS ZERO1 helmets. Fruitport recently converted to the helmets earlier this month.

Grand Haven will be wearing the helmets for the first time during the season opener against Reeths-Puffer Thursday evening at Grand Haven High School. 

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