KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Help has arrived for a youth football player in need of a large-sized helmet.
Without the proper size of head protection, 12-year-old Brandon Jackson can’t play football.
Jackson’s mother, Delanda Jackson, said the 7th-grader wants to play in the Kansas City Football and Cheer League, but because he’s bigger than the others, he needs a size 2X helmet, which is adult-sized, and hard to find.
“I’m hoping he gets to play football because that’s what I know he’s good at and he should enjoy,” Delanda Jackson said on Monday. “His coaches are loving on him and telling him he’s doing really good.”
Jackson, his family and coaches have hunted high and low for a helmet. The family originally believed a size 2X helmet would fit him, but after trying one, it was too snug.
Coaches are enthusiastic about helping Jackson because of his size and potential. He’s not yet a teenager, but he’s already 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds — the size coaches at every level seek in linemen on both sides of the ball.
Dustin Cundiff, who coaches Jackson with the Northland Revolution, said an older helmet won’t do, since it needs to be certified for safety.
“He’s worked so hard in practice, day in and day out, being able to keep up conditioning. I’d hate to see him not be able to play because of something as simple as a helmet,” Cundiff said. “His God-given size, it’s not something you can teach.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Jackson and his family met Chris Coffing, a national sales manager and professional helmet fitter with Riddell Sports. The company creates helmets for all 32 National Football League teams and numerous Division I college football teams.
A high-tech system Coffing uses made precise measurements of Jackson’s head, since a perfect fit ensures football safety.
Coffing learned of Jackson’s needs from Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Riddell Sports and Brown have agreed to pool their resources and pay for Jackson’s new helmet.
“I appreciate it because I’ll be able to play a game. Last week, I was out of the game because I wasn’t able to get a helmet,” Jackson said.
Custom-made helmets could cost anywhere from $900-$2,000. But Riddell and Brown are happy to pick up the tab.
“We just love that a young man like yourself is wanting to play football,” Coffing told Jackson. “We want to give every person out there the ability to play.”
“Just giving him the ability to go out and play what I consider the greatest game ever is an awesome opportunity for him,” said Dustin Cundiff, Jackson’s coach with the Northland Revolution.
Coffing said it would take three or four weeks to make Jackson’s custom helmet.