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NEW FAIRFIELD – Local parent and New Fairfield Falcons President, Tom Day, recently ran a remarkably successful fundraiser for new, safer Riddell Speedflex Helmets for children in the Falcons football program. Working with the help of his wife, Mandy, Tom solicited donations that amounted to $40,000 from a variety of corporate and personal sponsors from around the country.

Leveraging his role as a Chief Sales Officer for Diageo and Chairman of US Beer, Day asked for donations and was gratified to receive a bounty from fellow spirit distributers from more than a dozen states, plus his own family and friends.

Day has been President of the NF Falcons for 1 year of a 2-year elected term. His son, Lucas, plays for the Falcons. Day was his son’s Offensive Coach in 2016 and last year he was the Head Coach for his U10 team.

Inspired by his knowledge about the risks of injuries and concussions, he “wanted to make a difference, I wanted to bring awareness to concussions, I wanted to not be afraid that my own son would get injured, but most of all I wanted to bring a solution. The first solution was to put together a great team of head coaches, coaches who have a love for the game and who know how to coach the right way, the safe way. Second, I wanted to give the kids the best protection I could and after a lot of research it is with these new Riddell helmets …they are not cheap, each helmet costs around $300 dollars…I wanted to provide each athlete the chance to love the game the way I did, but do it the safest way possible.” Day cited that a recent study on these helmets gave them the highest rating, and that 80% of NFL players are wearing Riddell helmets.

What makes the Riddell helmets so much better? Day points to Riddell’s high quality, “Just like we see technology changing in our everyday lives we are seeing that change in the space of safety and in particular helmets. The SpeedFlex football helmet was one of the most anticipated football helmets of all time. The design and technology are going to change the way everyone looks at football helmets. A flexible panel has been added to the front of the helmet to reduce the impact to the head of the player.”

In addition to their new, state-of-the-art helmets, the town’s Falcons chapter prides itself on safely coaching the children to increase enjoyment while decreasing the chance of injury. Day says that, “Training in not only the right way to tackle or block someone, but also drills that can teach player awareness and improves the players cognitive ability on the field making the game in general safer today than it was in the past. We teach our younger kids a method of tackling that is sometimes referred to as Hawk Tackling, in essence you come in like a hawk arms raised and swooping with your head to the side and you tackle below the knees of your opponent, Adam Mahoney who is a trained rugby player has been helping us teach this technique.”

Happy to have football be a large part of their lives, Day says he “grew up playing football, it’s a big part of who I am. Youth football helped me not only achieve physical goals I set for myself but also impacted me personally and professionally. It helped teach me the meaning of perseverance, teamwork, leadership, dedication, goal attainment, success, defeat, and everything in between.”

He went on to say that, “I truly believe the success that I have had in life was set up by the foundation that youth football provided. I for one would not have been able to afford college and football helped give me a great education at Marist College…you can say it gave me so much this is a way for me to pay it forward.”

The Falcons program includes both cheerleading and football. The K-8 programs run August through November. If anyone would like more information on New Fairfeld Falcons football and cheer programs, visit newfairfieldfalcons.com.

By Sarah Opdahl