Parents of young athletes and players at all levels, especially in football, have expressed increasing concern about the health impacts of concussions—or mild traumatic brain injuries—that occur on the athletic field. But college football player Carter Hogg took that personal concern and did something about it.
It happened because Hogg’s older brother FJ, a linebacker for Washington and Lee University, suffered a career-ending concussion during the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship football game last year. After watching FJ deal with a long and difficult recovery from the injury, Hogg delved into the topic of concussions and how to limit them.
The result is Hogg’s invention called G8RSkin PPE, a “balaclava”-like shell used under helmets that’s said to reduce concussions in contact sports by more than 60%. The product is being made and sold by Hogg’s Dallas-based startup, G8RTech.
Aims to ‘reduce the movement of the skull and redistribute energy’
Hogg says the company’s balaclava—the word refers to a piece of headgear covering the neck, head, and face, usually worn in extreme weather—is made of antimicrobial and sweat-wicking materials and has a proprietary, patent-pending technology and design. It’s intended to “reduce the movement of the skull and redistribute energy” during collisions and whiplash events, he says.
“When a car comes to a sudden stop, passengers get thrown forward in their seats. Similarly, if your body throws the brakes on too fast, the brain will collide with the skull’s interior,” he says. “The solution I examined was limiting the movement of the skull and therefore reducing the energy of collisions between the brain and skull.”
Tested at the Helmet Lab of the Virginia Tech Center for Injury Prevention
A college football player himself—he’s a sophomore defensive back at Johns Hopkins University—Hogg is a third-generation inventor.
Hogg developed and refined his invention with the help of his father Jason Hogg, a serial inventor who holds more than 60 technology patents for cybersecurity and payment-processing products used by industry giants such as Dunkin’ Donuts, American Express, Walmart, and many more. Adding to the family legacy, his grandfather, Russell Hogg, is credited with inventing the debit card during his tenure at MasterCharge, now known as MasterCard.
Hogg’s G8RSkin was tested in the Helmet Lab of the Virginia Tech Center for Injury Prevention, where results demonstrated as much as a 61.57% reduction in concussion risk for a side collision.
Because it’s “soft and flexible like a normal balaclava,” Hogg contends, it won’t hinder an athlete’s mobility.
“G8RSkin is designed for comfort and wearability and is perforated to dissipate heat,” he says. “Many football players already wear a balaclava/ski mask and most skiers wear a ski mask, so this is an easy transition. G8RSkin reduces the risk of injury to the brain and neck, so if someone wants to have a higher probability of staying in the game or higher probability of extending their career, it’s a smart choice.”
‘A number of units’ sold so far
Funded to date through internal investors, G8RTech is currently in the pre-launch, pre-marketing phase and investigating different sales and marketing channels for different sports and potential customers, Hogg says.
Even so, it already has sold “a number of units so far across different sports,” he adds.
So, who’s shown interest?
“We have discussions with a number of sports leagues, players associations, and teams as well as a multitude of collegiate teams,” replies Hogg, a 2022 graduate of The Episcopal School of Dallas. “As the next seasons start, we’re excited for G8RSkin to start popping up.
“Key demand is coming from high school teams, coaches, and parents who are looking to reduce the risk of injury early in their child’s career, so that they may continue to enjoy sports into college and beyond.”
Alana Matthews, founder of Dallas-based Alautus Clothing Co. for women, is serving as G8RTech’s chief operating officer. The company’s CFO is Jorgen Bocklage, previously the CFO at Lyte, a ticketing technology platform.
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