Missouri Western State University has added more upgrades to the athletic department through the help of donors, adding new, safer helmets to their football program.
Missouri Western had some of these helmets last year, and the focus on player safety is something Athletic Director Josh Looney feels is most important.
“Our student-athletes give so much to our school, we want to protect them as much as we can,” Looney said. “Keeping our players on the field or court, playing the game they love is our main goal.”
The focus on player safety is not a new concept. Ever since the studies on concussions and CTE’s (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) have driven many teams, institutions and scientists to work harder to ensure player safety.
Missouri Western, along with these helmets, has a top-notch sports medicine team working day-in and day-out to keep the Griffon athletes on the field or court.
Football head coach Matt Williamson is very happy these helmets are now here at Missouri Western.
“Obviously we want all our players to stay healthy,” Williamson said. “Knowing that our players are putting on the best quality equipment known to man as of today makes parents, our training staff, our coaches all feel good.”
Last year, Northwest Missouri State unveiled these helmets for their own team, now it’s Missouri Western that has them.
With these helmets, the amount of head related injuries should theoretically fall, and that should help with recruiting.
“This was a major point while recruiting, that I wanted them on the field and protected,” Williamson said. “Keeping these kids protected on the field definitely made some parents feel good.”
This is just one item on a list of ways the football team has been effected in the past year. With this, coach Williamson knows there’s a lot of people behind his team.
“I think Josh (Looney) our athletic director has done a really good job for doing all that and mentoring us as a leader and taken a hold of the University.” Williamson said, “It’s also been great to have the community to support us, and obviously the donors we thank them so much for helping us.”
Looney knows this is just the start for Missouri Western sports.
“We’re winning games, football, basketball, you name it we’re winning and now people wanna be a part of this and they’re getting behind it,” Looney said. “When this many people wanna be a part of the school, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Missouri Western has been winning recently, with football going to a bowl game. Soccer being constantly a great team, same with softball and baseball. The Sundance Wicks hiring breathing new life into the basketball team, and the women’s basketball team has been a staple of constantly being good. Tracks has people like Hannah Williams and Jordan Garr who’re performing amazingly this season.
Even with this new addition to the athletic department, Looney is still very happy to see the future of Missouri Western athletics.
“This is just the start for us, we’re gonna keep winning and I can’t wait for more people to get behind the athletics we have here,” Looney said. “We have so many great coaches, athletes, and people in this department.”