The Palatine Park District recently approved a substantial loan for the Palatine Amateur Football Association (PAFA), to enable the league to purchase the highest rated safety helmets for all of its players.
On February 12, PAFA President Kollin Kozlowski went before the park district board to appeal for financial assistance in purchasing more than 400 Riddell helmets, which cost roughly $150 each.
The board voted unanimously 5-0 to award the youth tackle football league a $60,000 loan, to be repaid over the next four years.
Kozlowski previously reached out to Riddell, who is also the official helmet producer for the NFL. The company, based in Rosemont, has been developing sports protective and performance equipment since 1929.
Normally, the helmets run about $200 each, but Kozlowski said he worked with Riddell and was able to negotiate a 40 percent discount to ensure all PAFA players would have access to the best rated helmets for safety.
Last season, Kozlowski said the league was able to purchase 40, five star rated helmets. The helmets previously being used had a four star rating.
“We wanted to be more proactive in regards to safety for our players, and be able to replace all helmets from that perspective,” Kozlowski said. “We are at that critical stage to offer the safest equipment possible for our players.”
Kozlowski said the league is taking other steps to improve efficiency, including taking a hard look at where funds are spent, and providing training opportunities for PAFA coaches by area high school coaches to ensure they are teaching proper technique.
PAFA is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, and is affiliated with the Palatine Park District, which provides administrative functions such as marketing and registration, in addition to background checks on all coaches.
For more information on PAFA and how to get your child involved, visit their website.