Wake Forest, N.C. — For the past four years, the Heritage High School football team has hosted a golf tournament at Heritage Golf Club in Wake Forest.
This year’s competition started out with a bang. As of June 17, the golf tournament has raised north of $50,000 for football equipment to help keep the Heritage football team safe.
Heritage head coach Wallace Clark, said, “This past year we were able to get the ‘iron neck,’ and it’s a machine that the kids strengthen their neck up with. It’s not going to prevent major injuries, but it would help.”
“We have people that come back year-in and year-out,” Tournament Director Don Percise said. “They don’t really have an affiliation with Heritage. They might not have a kid that plays. Maybe they know a kid, but they just come back every year because they support the cause, they like the cause.”
Heritage Quarterback Walker Harris added, “I think it’s really cool because on Fridays is when we want their support, and I think this is a good way to start the season off.”
The cause at the heart of the competition is crucial. Clark’s top goal is to have smart helmets for each player, with technology that senses big hits in hopes of preventing concussions.
Clark said, “That actually could benefit not only the players but also, it eases the minds of the parents because they know we’re doing everything we can to keep their kids safe.”
The issue? Public schools only allot a certain amount of funds for athletic equipment. One of the top ‘safe helmet’ models, the Riddell Speedflex, costs around $400. With 85 players on both varsity and JV that comes to a grand total of $34,000.
Some moms on the Heritage football team who chose to not be on camera said they bought their sons Riddell helmets out of their own pockets to ensure their safety.
While the tournament was a blast, its main goal is to keep every player safe under the Friday night lights.