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The meaning behind WMU goalie's helmet

Brandon Bussi is doing it for his brother and all those who are autistic.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — It’s well known in hockey; goalies are often considered a different breed. 

“They are usually one tick off center,” explains Western Michigan head coach Pat Ferschweiler.

For the most part, Ferschweiler says Brandon Bussi isn’t like that. But when it comes to his helmet, Bussi admits he likes to take pride in its uniqueness. 

“It’s just something that means a lot to me,” he says. “A helmet is someplace where get to showcase your personality.

However for Bussi, the helmet he’s using this season isn’t about him at all. The 23-year-old junior has had many designs in the past, but this is the first one that truly gets behind a cause.

“It just shows how much Autism means to me and my family,” Bussi said.

Beyond the logos of Western Michigan, you’ll notice these puzzle pieces all over Bussi’s helmet. They represent the complexity of the Autism spectrum, something he saw growing up with his younger brother Dylan.

“It’s more frustrating to him as opposed to us,” Bussi said. “He wants to be able to communicate. It’s just difficult for him.”

Though Bussi says society has come a long way in understanding those on the spectrum, he believes there’s still a long way to go. And if his helmet gets people interested in the cause, he says that’s a greater win than any he can get on the ice.

“If I’m able to help out a family or someone who has Autism to better our life or understand that yes it can be difficult, but it’s a blessing in disguise.”

Since the school paid for the helmet, Bussi doesn’t how much it cost

“I would say probably a lot of money.”

But even with a price tag estimated to be around $800 bucks, Ferschweiler says it was worth every penny.

“Anytime you have inspiration or drive, it’s great to have," Ferschweiler says.

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