NYPD semi-pro football team latest
to begin using Novicky’s Shockstrips
By John Bassetti
Just because boys will be boys doesn’t mean that helmets have to be helmets.
Since Dr. Steve Novicky and his wife, Kim, of Canfield developed the patent-pending Shockstrips for use on football helmets for safety’s sake, the invention’s rise in acceptance seems to have gone from the countryside to the country.
Through Novicky’s connection with the Western Reserve High School football team as team physician, the strips have been used by the Blue Devils during games in rural Berlin Center and also on the road.
When the Shockstrip-equipped Western Reserve team played at Wellsville during the 2012 season, a special spectator was on hand to observe.
Detective Tony Hernandez of the New York Police Department, who is also general manager of a semi-pro football team, was a curious visitor.
“He heard about Shockstrips on Twitter and drove from New York to Wellsville to see them [Shockstrips] in action and talked to several players,” Novicky said of the GM of the New York Finest, a nationally recognized semi-pro team in the National Public Safety Football League, an athletic coalition of first responders.
“The Finest made the decision that they’d use them this year,” Novicky said of his product’s use by the team during an exhibition game against the Cleveland Warriors at Warren’s Mollenkopf Stadium on April 27, unofficially dubbed the Shockstrip Showcase.
“We hope to see a lot of people out that day supporting the safety forces as well as those who are curious to see Shockstrips in action on an upper-level team,” Novicky said of the game that will serve as a testament to his invention’s effectiveness in competition with more vicious hitting and contact.
“When you see these guys, you’ll be pretty shocked,” Novicky said, with no pun intended. “These guys are the best-of-the-best in their league. They have 300 try out and only keep a roster of 70.”
The New York Daily News had an article on March 11 about the strips.
“NYPD Finest Football to get protective helmet bumpers, Shockstrip pads, to reduce impact of helmet-to-helmet contact,” the headline read, adding that the “extra cushioning costs $50 per helmet and is said to mitigate the effect of helmet-to-helmet collisions by 41 percent.”
The charity game is the third of three encouraging developments that transpired since late last summer following a legal roadblock that had disappointment written all over it.
As of May 2012, the strips were illegal, then in August, the day before the high school football season opened in Ohio, the National Federation of State High School Associations reversed the status and ruled the strips legal.
“We have players on 28 teams in 13 states wearing Shockstrips,” Novicky said of the reversal in his invention’s favor.
“They had us pigeon-holed into a rule stating that the equipment must be worn as intended by the manufacturers,” Novicky said of the previous interpretation. “We weren’t changing how to wear the helmet, we were just putting something on the outside of them,” he said of the modification. “It’s not a difference in how it’s worn,” he stressed.
“We had testimonial where I spoke and then they (NFHS) reviewed all the testing and looked at all of the products and legalized the Shockstrip to be used in sanctioned high school football games. We had great success last season.”
It was late last year when Novicky was approached by Hernandez.
“They’re a team of former NCAA athletes and some ex-pros,” Novicky said.
Shockstrips got another endorsement when former NFL quarterback Jim Everett got on board.
“He’s become our unofficial/official spokesman,” Novicky said of Everett, who played with the Rams, Saints and Chargers from 1986-1997, but was also said to be “shell-shocked” after repeated hits while in the pocket.
“I am speaking from experience when I say I wish we had Shockstrip when I was playing football,” Everett is quoted on the Shockstrip website. “Shockstrip could have lessened and maybe eliminated the head trauma which I am in treatment for today.”
Novicky called it a very intense quote.
“Jim Everett is huge because he’s a past player looking at a current device and saying, ‘I wish I had something like this.’ When actual players tell me these things, it’s a big deal,” he said.
Could Shockstrips reverberate beyond?
“The colleges and NFL know we’re out there and they’re doing due diligence to protect players as is the Shockstrip business,” Novicky said. “They’re watching as we step into the upper level [semi-pro]. As far as what we heard, they’re happy with the progress and they’re monitoring it.”
Novicky said that several area coaches have expressed an interest in the Finest-Warriors game.
“We’ve had positive response from them.”
For more, visit shockstrip.com.