RMS was chosen by Peyton Manning from 1,400 applicants for football equipment grant

Jeff Bobo • Sep 6, 2018 at 12:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Rogersville Middle School football team was chosen from among 1,400 applicants as one of 18 recipients of a Riddell 2018 Smarter Football equipment grant valued at more than $10,000, but it was the only winner whose equipment was delivered by Peyton Manning.

On Wednesday, Riddell officially announced the grants, which increased from 10 in 2017 to 18 this year thanks to the help of a famous “18,” who serves as Riddell’s brand ambassador.

Riddell communications manager Justin Kenny told the Times News Wednesday that Rogersville was chosen for its “dedication to advancing the game and player protection on such a limited budget year-over-year.”

“A key factor was also being very detailed in their needs and mapping out a plan on how to improve overall player safety with each item requested as part of their grant,” Kenny added.

RMS was the only one of the winners to receive the surprise of a lifetime when Manning visited the team and delivered the new equipment on Aug. 24, then worked out with the Warriors for about 90 minutes.

Through an online application process, this year’s “18 in 18” recipients successfully demonstrated their commitment to teaching smarter tactics on and off the field while continuing to grow their programs and engage the broader community.

Among the new equipment received by the team were uniforms, pads and 40 InSite smart helmets.

“I am very honored to have witnessed this once in a lifetime experience in our kids’ lives,” said RMS Principal Greg Simpson. “I am so proud for Coach (Jeremy) Bailey in his accomplishments both on and off the field. His dedication to the students at RMS is evident on a daily basis, and I’m so proud that he’s part of our RMS family.”

Simpson added, “Peyton Manning specifically chose Mr. Bailey’s grant application based on his meticulous attention to details regarding the safety of our students on the football field. Specifically, the needs assessment along with plans for the implementation of sports equipment already purchased from limited funds was noticed by Manning. Prior to the visit, Mr. Manning sent Coach Bailey a personalized video congratulating him on receiving the grant.”

Aside from RMS, the other Smarter Football equipment grant recipients included high schools in Texas, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, Hawaii, Oregon, South Dakota, South Carolina, Maine, New Mexico, Montana, Ontario and the Virgin Islands, as well as a college in Michigan and another middle school in South Carolina.

For Riddell, Smarter Football means leading innovation in product design and development to create more advanced protective technologies.

Most recently, Riddell unveiled an enhanced web-based data center for team personnel called the InSite Training Tool, complementing its InSite Impact Response System.

The new interactive web tool builds individual player head impact profiles and allows coaches to influence athletes’ behavior proactively through focused training techniques and specialized practice plans.

Kenny noted that the tool isn’t really used for concussion monitoring and detection. It can only monitor on-field impacts that players receive. 

Bailey can use data collected from helmets as a coaching tool, to record if and when his players are lowering their heads during blocks and tackles so he can pass that info on to the players as something they need to correct.

These were the uses for the smart helmets that Bailey talked about in his application for the Riddell equipment grant.