Grand Blanc football player to receive custom-fitted helmet

Chris Hamler fitting Gavin Peters with a helmet. Photos by Ben Gagnon

Chris Hamler fitting Gavin Peters with a helmet. Photos by Ben Gagnon

GRAND BLANC — Since he started playing football in eighth grade, Gavin Peters has struggled to find a helmet that fits him comfortably.

But thanks to cutting-edge technology, Peters will be getting a new custom-fitted helmet for next season.

Peters, a junior on the Grand Blanc High School Varsity football team, became the first Michigan high school football player to be fitted for a customized helmet by Schutt Sports. The 16-year-old and his family met with Schutt representatives last week after Peters’ mom contacted the company and asked if it could create a custom helmet for her son.

Chris Hamler, a regional sales manager for Schutt, used 3D pressure mapping technology and a helmet equipped with sensors to measure Peters’ head, then fitted Peters with another helmet that outlined a compatible design for the teen’s head using “pod” inserts.

“Because of the way our (mapping) helmet is designed, we have 1.7 quadrillion fitting options and 20 locations inside the helmet to put in different-sized pads and levels of firmness,” Hamler said. “Using our computer mapping model, it allows us to essentially make a helmet that fits exactly like a glove, complete to everybody’s shape.”

Gavin Peters with the helmet.

Gavin Peters with the helmet.

For Peters, the journey to find a perfect-fitting helmet began in middle school, when he started noticing that his helmet was too tight. The fitting problem continued for Peters throughout high school, prompting his coaches to search far and wide for temporary alternatives.

At one point, Peters even had to borrow a Schutt helmet from the Detroit Lions.

“We worked and worked and called every company and college that we knew to see if they had a helmet for him,” said Grand Blanc Varsity Head Coach Clint Alexander. “That’s when Gavin’s mom stepped in to make this all happen.

“Back when I played, they would just clamp a helmet on you and your head would eventually shape to it,” Alexander added. “I’m glad to know that the technology is getting better and better to keep guys safe so we can keep the sport going.”

An up-close view at the 3D mapping helmet. Photo by Ben Gagnon

An up-close view at the 3D mapping helmet. Photo by Ben Gagnon

Peters, who plays right tackle, said that he’s relieved to finally have a helmet that will be comfortable for him to use during game action.

“It was cool how all the new technology worked to give me an instant fit,” he said. “Now that I have something that fits right, it makes me feel safer.”

Although the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) recently postponed football until the spring, Peters said that he’s eager to take to the field and try out his new helmet once the season eventually starts.

Peters will receive his new helmet from Schutt within the next few weeks.