The St. Louis Rams have collaborated with a tackling equipment company to spread funds for local schools as well as the tools need to play football safely.
Now it’s a rather interesting moment in Rams history. The St. Louis iteration may very well change its city of note to Los Angeles or stay in St. Louis, where it claimed Super Bowl XXXIV.
In either case, its role as community beacon continues amid town hall meetings and future stadium proposals.
To that end, the franchise has taken steps to team up with Shadowman Sports to create a campaign that is about goodwill, charity and sports safety.
A press release explains the feature of the partnership, a weekly high school game wherein the winning team took home $1,000 in grant money for the school.
As the release states, the donations were substantial: “During the season, the partnership resulted in $20,000 in equipment and grants provided to local schools.”
The process was inclusive, ending with a fan vote on what would be considered the 2015 Rams High School Game of the Week, which was as popular as you might imagine.
Over ten weeks, officials saw 2.3 million votes cast at the virtual gridiron polls.
But the campaign was about far more than infusing monetary help into the local school system through football measures.
There was also a Top Tackler program, which garnered an amateur athlete a cavalcade of accolades including, “an award package including an official Shadowman Sports #TopTackler certificate, a T-shirt and a congratulatory letter from Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher.”
It makes perfect sense, because Shadowman Sports is identified as a global entity that “creates smarter sports environments with products developed through preventive design.”
The following video illustrates what schools might expect from the innovation, which features a tackling dummy that stands in place for what would normally be another high school athlete:
As you can see from the above video, athletes chase around a dummy strapped to one of their teammates.
From there they can lock in and target one of three strike zones, working on form without the danger of injuring another athlete during the normal tedium of practice. A dangerous sport instantly becomes a bit safer.
Kyle Eversgerd, who is the Rams’ director of external football affairs, offered up his thoughts on the collaboration: “As our community’s professional football team, we take pride in being a leading advocate for the game of football at all levels and helping to further develop the game.”
Eversgerd continued: “In Shadowman Sports, we saw an exciting opportunity to partner with an industry leader to deliver innovative training products to schools and high school athletes who could benefit from their technology.”
CBDO of Shadowman Sports, Ronan O’Brien, was equally pleased: “Being involved with the Rams High School Game of the Week and beyond allows us to support the Rams as they continue to promote the development of football in St. Louis. The Rams have repeatedly proven themselves to be one of the most forward thinking sports franchises in the world. Our partnership with the Rams will bring Shadowman to a whole new level and we couldn’t be more excited.”
We will let you decide whether that partnership continues in St. Louis after 2015. But it’s important, for the moment, to disregard the fat, party-pooper of an elephant in the room.
What is wonderful is the fact that local schools are getting the incentive to practice smarter and safer.
This extends to off the field as well—although both the Rams and Shadowman Sports have donated products to various local schools throughout the campaign.
As noted, both the Rams and Shadowman Sports continue to monitor prep football in the area.
By season’s end the partnership will reward a team from Illinois as well as Missouri with the honor of being the Rams/Shadowman Sports High School Team of the year.
As far was what is being judged, the release points to “skills, overall academic performance, sportsmanship, strengths and perseverance,” essentially a majority of items you hope are nurtured at all levels of sport.
In the meantime, several schools around the St. Louis area and beyond are changing with the times, infusing the program with tools that alleviate at least a part of the dangers inherent in this sport.