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YMCA of Austin

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YMCA to Invest in New Equipment to Reduce Potential Concussions

Austin, TX, August 10, 2014 --( On the cusp of the Fall youth sports season, and in step with the constant effort to minimize concussions in football, the YMCA of Austin is investing in significant improvements to provide increased safety in all of its flag football programs. RockSolid RS1 Soft Shell Head Guards will be used at the Hays Communities Family Branch this Fall making the YMCA of Austin the first Y in the state and the second Y in the nation to utilize these specially designed helmets for non-contact football for their athletes.

“While flag football is a much safer alternative to youth tackle football, we do believe that utilizing these soft shell head guards in non-contact football leagues will help elevate the standard of safety in this game we all love,” says Joey LaRocque, RockSolid’s Founder and CEO.

The RS1 Soft Shell Head Guards will be purchased using some of the funds from a $28,356 grant that the Y recently received from the Nelson Puett Football Fund of the Austin Community Foundation. RockSolid is also partnering with the Y to donate several helmets to the growing program. The idea of the RS1 was to create maximum protection without the athlete feeling the weight of a traditional helmet or head guard. With a soft core and outer layer, the head guards will protect all players on the field, specifically in areas that are vulnerable to collision. Sports related concussions cannot be eliminated, but the Y is doing its part to minimize the risk and keep young athletes safe.

“We plan to start the use of these helmets in just our oldest two divisions, so for ages 8 and up,” said Simon Singletary, Sports Program Coordinator for the Hays Communities Family Branch. “Based on the need in the other divisions, we will potentially acquire more helmets for future seasons.”

In addition to the helmets, the Puett Fund grant will also improve football fields and facilities at multiple branches. The funds will be used to support the purchase of portable field lighting for the Hays YMCA, as well as field and bleacher improvements at East Communities YMCA and equipment upgrades at TownLake.

“The Puett football grant will help our program grow to new previously unreached levels by allowing us to play multiple games in one night with our soon to be purchased field lights,” said Singletary. “Our teams will have more time to practice and improve their overall skill level in the sport, by gaining more potential play hours each week of our fall season.”

YMCA of Austin flag football is a recreational program designed for kids new to the sport of football as well as those who desire to enhance their skills without the potential risks associated with tackle football. The program helps kids learn the rules, tactics and skills of the game. The grant provides the Y the opportunity to expose more kids to the sport in a safer environment and help foster a love of physical activity. Sports programs, like Youth Flag Football, can combat childhood obesity, while giving kids a fun way to exercise and learn good sportsmanship.

The YMCA is dedicated to youth development and strives to provide a safe, enriching environment for all children. The YMCA Youth Sports program stresses child-oriented attitudes by keeping winning in perspective, having fun, improving physical fitness and working with the whole child. The Y wants the quality of play to improve in order to meet the needs of all participants.

Flag football is open for kids ages 4-12 and is offered at Hays Communities YMCA, East Communities YMCA and Springs Family YMCA for the fall season and at TownLake YMCA for the winter season. To learn more about Youth Fall Sports at the YMCA, visit

For more information about the grant, contact Megan Arnold at 512-322-9622 x132 or

About the YMCA of Austin

The YMCA of Austin is a nonprofit organization that has served the Austin community since 1953, providing health and wellness, aquatics, youth sports, day camp, childcare, youth leadership, senior services and family enrichment opportunities for more than 70,000 members and 60,000 program participants. More information on the YMCA of Austin is available at

About the Nelson Puett Youth Football Fund

Nelson Puett forged his love for football growing up in Central Texas and carried his passion for the sport through college at the University of Texas at Austin. When Nelson Puett passed away in 2006, he left behind a legacy and a hope that Central Texas children would benefit from play and sport as much as he did as boy. The Nelson Puett Youth Football Grant Program was created at the Austin Community Foundation to provide support for youth football.

About the RockSolid RS1

The RS1 was designed to add protection to the athlete’s head and face, while minimizing the effects of creating a false sense of security to the athlete. The RS1 is light, does not affect the player’s vision, and has TruFit Technology that enables the head guard to fit snugly around the athlete’s head without the use of a chinstrap. Consisting of a soft core and outer layer, the head guard makes for a safer field of play for both the athlete wearing the head guard and the others on the field.
Contact Information
YMCA of Austin
Leilani Perry
512-322-9622 ext. 137

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