Couple works to protect young football players from harm

(NewsNation) — As Damar Hamlin shows, severe injuries and accidents can happen at the highest level of sports. But young athletes are at risk too, and may not have access to the same protective gear.

Brian and Kathy Haugen lost their son Taylor after a traumatic injury ruptured his spleen. Taylor was only 15, and the Haugens founded the Taylor Hogan Foundation to prevent other parents from going through the same kind of loss.

“Don’t prevent your child from playing the sport that they love, for fear that they’re going to be injured. Do your homework to figure out how to best protect them so they can better enjoy the sport that they love and play it safer,” Brian Haugen said.

The foundation does just that, helping outfit high school players with the same kind of high-tech protective gear worn by the pros.

“he reality is that high school parents and coaches are simply not aware of the level of gear that many of the pros and college students or players have,” Brian Haugen said.

The foundation recently outfitted 100 players with new gear. As devastating as their loss was, the Haugens said they don’t think kids should stop playing football.

“I don’t agree that that football needs to be restricted, I think we can play smarter, rather than take away something that so many benefit from,” Kathy Haugen said.

The Haugens urge parents to be pro-active when it comes to researching safety and the latest gear, rather than assuming all coaches are up to date.

The couple hopes to help kids keep playing football and keep their son’s legacy alive.

“I’m happy that his legacy is living on and what happened to him is hopefully going to protect and prevent parents from having to go through the same thing that we have,” Kathy Haugen said.


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