DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Riddell and brand ambassador Peyton Manning announced the 18 recipients of the 2018 Smarter Football equipment grants and congratulated each program with a personalized video message from Manning. Through an online application process, this year's '18 in 18' recipients successfully demonstrated their commitment to teaching smarter tactics on and off the field while continuing to grow their programs and engage the broader community. Winners include teams from all backgrounds and across levels of play, including one college team, 12 high school programs, two middle school teams and three youth organizations. About 1,400 teams applied and showcased their dedication to improving the sport.
2018 Smarter Football marked the first year of the expanded '18 in 18' format, paying homage to Manning's iconic jersey number. Manning's personal contribution increased the number of equipment grants from 10 in 2017 to 18 in 2018 and, for the second consecutive year, he played a role in evaluating applicants and choosing the grant winners.
"I am proud to help Riddell shine a light on these outstanding football programs," said Peyton Manning. "From Apple Springs High School utilizing its 'H-Awareness' around heat and hydration, and USA Football's Heads Up Football program, to the Madras High School White Buffaloes leveraging the values and lessons from football to be more productive members of society as part of the D.E.S.I.R.E. initiative, Smarter Football is stronger than ever. I hope we continue to see more teams follow the lead of this incredible collection of coaches, players, administrators and parents."
One of the '18 in 18' equipment grant recipients, the Rogersville Middle School Warriors, located in Rogersville, Tennessee, were given the surprise of a lifetime when Manning visited the team and personally delivered new equipment in August. A link to the full surprise video can be found here.
The following is a full list of '18 in 18' Smarter Football equipment grant recipients:
- Apple Springs High School Eagles: Apple Springs, Texas
- Brandywine High School Bulldogs: Wilmington, Delaware
- Ecole Secondaries Franco Site: Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
- Englewood High School Rams: Jacksonville, Florida
- Fayette High School Falcons: Fayette, Missouri
- Finlandia University Lions: Hancock, Michigan
- Florence-Carlton High School Falcons: Florence, Montana
- Florence Henry High School Falcons: Florence, South Dakota
- Madras High School White Buffaloes: Madras, Oregon
- Molokai High School Farmers: Ho'olehua, Hawaii
- North Texas Youth Cowboys: Dallas, Texas
- Poinciana High School Eagles: Kissimmee, Florida
- Rogersville Middle School Warriors: Rogersville, Tennessee
- Scott's Branch Middle School Eagles: Manning, South Carolina
- Spring Valley High School Vikings: Columbia, South Carolina
- Stearns High School Minutemen: Millinocket, Maine
- United States Virgin Islands Department of Education: Christiansted, USVI
- West Las Vegas High School Dons: Las Vegas, New Mexico
"As the industry leader in athlete protection, we are incredibly passionate about working together with exemplary football programs and advocates like Peyton Manning to further advance the sport we all love and believe in," said Riddell President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Arment. "We extend high praise to this year's class of Smarter Football winners and thank all who applied for '18 in 18.' The future of football is strong with this year's grant recipients paving the way."
For Riddell, Smarter Football means leading innovation in product design and development to create more advanced protective technologies. Most recently, Riddell unveiled an enhanced web-based data center for team personnel called the InSite Training Tool complementing its InSite Impact Response System. The new interactive web tool builds individual player head impact profiles and allows coaches to proactively influence athlete behavior through focused training techniques and specialized practice plans.
For more information about the Smarter Football program, please visit Riddell.com/SmarterFootball. Anyone in the football community is invited to join the movement by following @RiddellSports on social media and sharing their own examples of #SmarterFootball in action.
Riddell is a premier designer and developer of football helmets, protective sports equipment, head impact monitoring technologies, apparel and related accessories. A recognized leader in helmet technology and innovation, Riddell is the leading manufacturer of football helmets and shoulder pads, and a top provider of reconditioning services (cleaning, repairing, repainting and recertifying existing equipment). For more information, visit our website at http://www.riddell.com, like the Riddell Facebook page, or follow Riddell on Instagram and Twitter @RiddellSports.