First of all I'd like to say thank you for your work. I'm a big fan. Multiple events, personally and professionally, led to a greater interest in MTBI - not the least of which were the increased incidence in my patients, the increased incidence on teams I coach (now in year 20 with my 6th child) and reading League of Denial, with which I'm sure you're intimately familiar.
My deeper research into this topic led me to your headgear. Three of my 3 of my 5 currently playing children are wearing your Ultra FF. My oldest is now a 24 year old engineer playing in adult leagues and no longer under my roof (or even in my state). The other non-complaint son is a 20 year old college player, a junior, who knows it all and is also, in essence, no longer under my roof. However, I told my other boys who are playing (ages 9, 13 and 18) their choices were to wear the band or not play soccer. All three love the game and are very good at it. 2 of them will also likely play in college if they continue. The 18 year old has decided his collegiate sport will be track (distance runner). The 6th "child" is currently an assistant high school coach whose knee injuries cut her soccer career short.
Two good testimonies. Like nearly every parents, I got push-back from all my kids. As I mentioned, I played parent rather than spineless guardian when push came to shove. But I no longer get push back. Here are two good testimonies you'll appreciate.
My 13 year old just received his Ultra prior to the Regional ODP camp. Parents are discouraged from tagging along on these trips so this is his account. His first game he "forgot" to put it on. There was an 8 minute delay in their first game as an opponent went down with a significant head injury. He went off the field and over to his bag and put it on his Ultra FF. He has only forgotten it once since and he put it on when he was called off for a brief break.
Last week I arrived late to our 18 yr old's high school game. He did not have it on. After the game we had a heated discussion. He felt he played better without it. I told him he will not play at all without it and I will be "that parent" next time. I will walk over to the bench and demand the coach pull him (I am a school board director and have known his coach since he was a 9 yr old pediatric patient of mine). He knew better that to assume I was bluffing. Last Saturday we played the #1 team in the state. My thin son went head to head with a stocky mdfielder. Both landed on the ground. The beefy opponent stayed down and missed the rest of the game with a head injury. My son, with his Ultra FF on, popped right up, smiling, without the slightest problem. I don't get push back anymore. Last night he also scored his two goals of the season -- with his headgear on. Apparently the curse has lifted. :)
Today, our club sent an e-mail out to all the coaches and managers highlighting a few risk management issues and reproducing a letter written by Paul Gardner regarding the lack of effort by FIFA to make changes needed to reduce risk of head injuries in youth soccer. In that letter e-mail they also posted our club's site regarding informaition and stated policy on head injuries.
You'll notice that the only headgear that is listed is a competitor of yours. BEFORE I saw this website, I wrote the executive director and director of coaching a very lengthy letter regarding the steps I felt are necessary for our club to take regarding reducing MTBI. That included educating all participants from players and parents to coaches and administrators regarding the signs, symptoms, causes, response and prevention. It included rule changes in our in-house rec leagues that include making headers illegal - especially 4-9 yr olds, but preferably all Rec ages. I advised, better training of all players with encouragement to trap and control, or re-direct with below the neck parts rather than header whenever possible. I asked for mandatory preseason IMPACT testing for ALL club players. Finally, I suggested making protective headgear part of their uniform package for all small sided team (here that goes from u4 to U12) and strongly encourage it for ALL age groups. And I strongly suggested endorsing your product over the others. I cited effectiveness, cost, compliance, and even customization as reasons.
This is the largest soccer club in Indiana. We are literally right next door to the Indy Colts headquarters and have sites in two counties. We have soccer dads that work for them. The multi-cultural club includes a 50:25:25 mix of players from both poor inner city families and wealthy/middle class suburban families. My Caucasian son is a minority on his U-14 team, which was the state cup runner up by overtime PK's. Probably have the kids are on our team are on some financial assistance. There is great potential here for your gear.