The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 7, 2014

Nonprofit hopes to buy safer helmets

MERCER COUNTY — Incidents like Tyson Andrada’s severe concussion have prompted a West Middlesex-area mother with a midget football player to make it her life’s goal to make sure that kind of injury doesn’t happen to another kid in Mercer County.

Kayla Pumphrey’s goal is to outifit every pee-wee and midget football helmet in Mercer County with technology recently made available to the public.

Called impact sensor technology, it is designed to send an alert to the coach when a kid’s head is jarred enough to cause a concussion.

Pumphrey said she witnessed “a bunch of hard hits” last year.

“It’s scary. You can go three days without a symptom of a concussion,” she said. “This is the sport we put our children in to keep them off the streets.”

She said she spoke with some area pee-wee and midget football coaches and learned that all teams in Mercer County must wear the same safety equipment.

Any changes in equipment must first come from the Shenango Valley Midget Football League.

If that approval is granted, “No matter what route we take, it’s not going to be cheap,” Pumphrey said.

That’s where Dawson’s Dream Fund comes in.

Pumphrey founded Dawson’s Dream Fund in January in memory of her son, Dawson Robert Kelley, who died suddenly when he was 5 from an undiagnosed heart condition.

The nonprofit foundation has hooked up with the Shenango Valley Foundation and is hosting several fundraisers to support this first endeavor.

If the helmets are ordered in bulk, the cost is almost the same as it was for the helmets the kids wear now when they were new.

“It’s going to take a couple fundraisers,” she said.

“The money raised is going to go toward making the sport safer for our children,” Pumphrey said. “It will be donated like a grant to each individual team.”

Among the first fundraisers are:

• Make a Difference Monday from 5 to 10 p.m. Memorial Day at Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon.

• Prom for a Purpose from 8 p.m. to midnight June 13 in Park Inn by Radisson, Shenango Township. The formal event for ages 21 and older will include light dinner fare, dancing to music by DJ Matthew Swegan, photography by Lisa Stephens and an American auction. Tickets until May 31 are $75 a couple or $50 a person from Pumphrey, 724-967-5938, or Rhonda Kelley, 724-815-1278.

• T-shirt sales from Pumphrey, 724-967-5938.

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