Safety First: Putting Their Heads Together, Community Privately Funds Helmet Purchase for Summit H.S. Football Program

Summit Head Football Coach Kevin Kostibos with one of the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmets. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
A representative from Riddell came to Summit to fit each student-athlete.
Virginia Tech researchers note that the "best available head protection... helps reduce concussion risk."

SUMMIT, NJ - A group of football program parents, aided by player fundraising efforts and a significant corporate contribution, has funded the nearly $36,000 purchase of 90 helmets for the Summit High School Football program which will see the Hilltoppers take the field this season equipped with headgear featuring what industry experts believe to be the most advanced safety technology.

The Riddell SpeedFlex helmet has received five stars from the Virginia Tech Helmet Rankings, a initiative formed in 2011 that results in Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University researchers providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. The work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100% independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.

"Above all else, safety is our primary concern for all our student athletes in the program," said Summit High School Head Football Coach Kevin Kostibos. "Football is a collision sport and, while we coach proper tackling techniques from the youth level on up, the helmet is a vital piece of protection. I look at this way: if my son was playing, I would want him wearing this helmet."

Sign Up for E-News

The program first approached the traditional potential funding sources -- the school's athletic department and the Summit Public School District -- and was informed that funds were not available.

Summit Superintendent of Schools June Chang, in an e-mail to TAPinto Summit, said, "The existing helmets are certified, safe, and reconditioned every year. They meet the standards under NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment). Most HS (high school) football teams in the state use similar helmets. The parent fundraising efforts and donations have provided an opportunity for us to exceed the standard and enhance student-athlete safety on the field.

As a District, we are steadfast in securing the safety of all our students which is why this was discussed in Operations Committee and reported out at the BOE meeting that we are supportive of the fundraising efforts. The health and security of our students is always part of any discussion related to budgetary decisions."

Undeterred, a group of parents -- spearheaded by Noel Shepard -- continued the initiative, which was greatly aided by a significant donation by Salerno Duane Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram and Ford in Summit.

"Without the support of Salerno Duane, this (the purchase of the helmets) likely doesn't happen," said Kostibos.

From its perspective, Salerno Duane said making the contribution was an easy decision according to Salerno Duane General Manager Michael Podell. "Doing everything to make our kids more safe by giving them the best protection possible? I think that is the community's obligation. Summit is our home, and these boys represent our community with toughness, talent and class. We were happy to help get this done."

According to Riddell, the SpeedFlex helmet uses elements from both the Riddell Revolution and the Riddell 360 – such as a Patented Side Impact Protection and All-Points Quick Release face mask attachment system -- but almost every component in the SpeedFlex is new, from the shell to the face mask to the chin strap to the interior padding system. 

The SpeedFlex features The Flex System, with flexibility engineered into the helmet’s shell, face mask and face mask attachment system with hinge clips to help reduce impact force transfer to the athlete.

Riddell -- and the Virginia Tech researchers -- are both quick to point out that no helmet can make a player concussion-proof, and that many factors, including the helmet itself, can help reduce risk with the helmet being "just one piece of the equation." The Virginia Tech researchers add, however, that "Having the best available head protection for the remaining head impacts further reduces risk."

The Summit Youth Football program, which has seen a decrease in participation as concussion-related parent concerns have risen, is exploring the purchase of the junior SpeedFlex model.

"Football is an amazing sport -- as techniques and technology advances, we are committed to be at the leading edge of player safety at every level of the program," said Kostibos.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Status Report #5

June 20, 2018

As summer fast approaches, this will be my fifth semi-annual status report on what I have been up to on Council.  In a change from the prior two years, this year I have been serving as Council president. As such, I have had greater involvement across a multitude of different issues.  However, I want to focus on three themes that have so far permeated this Council: economic growth and ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, June 24, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Summit Police Blotter

June 19, 2018

5/29 - Mark L. Howard, 21, of Nutley was arrested and charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking and credit card fraud. Mr. Howard was processed and released with a pending court date.

5/29 - At 1143 hours a report was taken for a theft of stolen license plate from a River Road business. The victim reported the last time the license plate was seen on the property was within the ...

Video: Dietze Says Despite Trade War Fears, Economy's Fundamentals Remain Strong

June 20, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live from the CNN building on the case for bullishness despite a potential trade war:

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks U.S.-China Tariff Tussle's Market Impact

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on discussing the market impact resulting from tariffs between the United States and China:

​​​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...

Video: In The Zone with Christa Anderson

A must watch for anyone considering renovations, here is a recent interview that I conducted -- on my HomeTowne TV Show called “Are You Ready for Life?” -- with Christa Anderson, City of Summit Zoning Officer, to discuss the nuances within the variance process.

I asked Christa to shed some insight into the approval process, explain why it’s necessary, and ...

Hello, Neighbors

Hi, Summit families!

My name is Betsy Stoeber and I’ve been the owner and director at the specialized learning center Brain Balance of Summit since 2011. I first encountered Brain Balance the year before we opened as a parent. My own son participated in our innovative program at the center in Norwalk, CT, to address a number of learning challenges.

Traveling there three times per week ...