Visalia high school football players getting high-tech helmets

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Soon, Visalia varsity high school football players will wear what the pros are wearing: the VICIS ZERO1 helmet.

Visalia Unified is the first school district in the country to roll out the helmet, designed by engineers and neurosurgeons to reduce impact forces on the field.

Wednesday, former NFL player, and Super Bowl Champion Trent Dilfer explained why the change is so critical for high school players.

"Football is under attack," Dilfer told students. "Football needs to become safer, and VICIS is on the forefront of making a safer game. Because of that, you guys right now will play a safer football game this fall than the other student-athletes around the country."

Don Groppetti made the generous donation to Visalia Unified after being approached by a local business owner and concerned parent of a Golden West JV player.

In their first year of high school distribution, VICIS has fitted players from nine other California high schools with ZERO1's, which have multiple layers and a soft outer shell.

"I think players can expect a helmet that fits extremely comfortably, than what they are used to," said VICIS' Mike Finney. "We have hundreds of computer models on head shapes as well as us coming into custom fit the guys, (it's) probably an approach that they have never had before."

El Diamante varsity football captain Jake Garbani was already familiar with the VICIS brand.

He says his new helmet is an upgrade, even from those he purchased on his own in previous years of playing.

"I the biggest benefit is the safety," Garbani said. "The mental part of the safety is that you know you're going to be safe and you know you're going to have the top of the line gear."

Only one more school needs to be fitted.

That will be done next week, just in time for Friday night lights.
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