The Evolution of Non-Tackle Football
The Evolution of Non-Tackle Football
Football is evolving. Years of testimonials, data, controversy, and medical breakthroughs have pushed the discussion forward that football needs to do better to protect its players.
Closing the gender gap for youth players has also shifted the way we look at sports, and the way we look at making sure girls and boys can both enjoy playing any sport they want to try.
Kevin Thompson and Brooke Gladney join us from Interactive Sports Group, Inc. to fill us in on how they’re changing the game.
Kevin, a former engineer and football player, developed a way for kids to learn and play football in a safe way.
Enjoy episode #62 with Kevin Thompson. And, listen to more episodes from the Hustle & Pro archives.
- [0:28] Quick hits with Kevin and Brooke
- [3:08] Sports & Family Background
- [6:30] What is Interactive Football?
- [8:50] The Idea & Why
- [11:35] Safety & The Gear
- [18:35] Youth, Adults, Boys, and Girls
- [21:00] League and Tournament Play
- [29:22] Dream Team and YEA!
- [34:00] Video Series | May 19th Webinar
Resources within this episode:
- Interactive Football: Website | Facebook @InteractiveFootball | Instagram @interactivefootball/
- Interactive Sports Group: Website
- Kevin Thompson, Founder of Interactive Sports Group: Email | LinkedIn
- Kelly Walker: Instagram @kelly_walkertexas | Twitter: @kelly_walker_TX
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
Welcome to Hustle and Pro season two talking sports and Frisco from youth to pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Welcome to Hustle and Pro. So football is evolving. It has to, it needs to. And our guest today, Kevin Thompson and Brooke Gladney of interactive sports group are here to talk to us about how they are helping change the game. Welcome to the show, Kevin and Brooke. It’s great to be here.
Kelly, thank you for having us.
I’m excited to talk to you guys. So right off the top I want to do a little bit of quick hits to sort of get to know you guys a little bit better. So you’re welcome to both jump in and answer these quick hits and then we’ll jump into some, some bigger questions I have about what you guys are up to. So who is your favorite athlete of all time?
I would have to say Muhammad Ali just because of the awesome athlete that he was, but also his social responsibility was second to none and he stood up for what was right and he was just good on all levels. So I say Muhammad Ali by far.
Brooke, what about you? I don’t know. I have to say I grew up and everything about him I could relate to. So he was my favorite player growing up.
Alright. So what’s your favorite sport to play yourselves?
Basketball. That’s probably an easy one to just say. You just almost said it. So then what about you Kevin?
I enjoyed both baseball and football. I’d say equally great sports, different, but um, I don’t think I would pick between the two, but between the two I’d have to say baseball and football because opposite seasons. So you got to be athletic, round seats.
All right. Then flipping it a little. Your favorite sport to watch. Cause now we don’t all participate all the time anymore.
I can, I can watch football all day. I can’t watch baseball.
So, so definitely football is my favorite sport to watch.
This may sound a little left field tennis. I love watching tennis.
Yeah, there’s some like there’s some like rhythm to tennis that does kind of suck you in and it’s hard to stop watching it. And I played in high school too. So it, I’m not the type to sit down and watch a lot of sports, but I definitely love watching tennis.
All right, last quick hit. What’s your favorite sports movie? Or I see your wheels are turning or your favorite few. You can name more than one if you need to. Brooke, do you have any?
Love and basketball.
Okay. Love and basketball.
Um, let me see it. Favorite sports movie coach Carter? No, those two are like top two for me. I’d say, you know, the one that I thought was the most emotional was like Field of Dreams cause I can relate to that. Um, so I’d say if I had to put one on the spot right now, I’d say Field of Dreams, cause I can just remember it right now. But there’s a lot. I love sports. I love the different uh, movies that they’ve had out there. But I’d say Field of Dreams.
The magical one, I love Field of Dreams can not not watch it when I pass by it. Like it’s, it’s impossible to just not see what part of the movie it’s on. And then I’m stuck watching it cause I don’t want to change it. I love it. Okay. So Kevin, I want to focus on you for a little bit. You are the CEO and founder of interactive sports group. So I want to know, we’re going to jump in to what that is and I’m explaining what you’re up to, but I kind of want to know your background a little bit as it relates to sports or you just told us you played baseball and football. I love football and all these things, but what did you, what did your sports look like growing up?
Yeah, and that’s a great question. I think I have a rich sports background and tied together with a strong family background. So I’ve got three older sisters. They were athletic. I’ve got an older brother, younger brother, athletic, uh, me and my brothers. When we grew up, we were competed. We competed no matter what it was, we competed against each other. My older brother was awesome at sports. He was great at baseball, greater football. And for me, just following in his footsteps was just that helped. It helped. And, um, so for me, growing up, playing little league, pop Warner, playing baseball and playing football was, was, it was great and it was good because it taught me to compete and to have fun. To me, sports are about fun, number one. And then learning to compete and then learning to be a good team player. And so for me, growing up, playing sports was, was, was awesome. Uh, balancing it with school, but definitely, um, just loved playing baseball and football. Now those are the only two sports that I played in an organized fashion. I did played a little bit of tennis growing up and you know, with friends and, and played basketball. But in terms of organized sports, it was all about baseball and football.
Up into what level or age?
Great question. So up until high school after high school, I didn’t play in college. And there’s a bunch of reasons for that. You know, I think the key reason is one, I wasn’t. That’s a big one. Also. Um, from a football standpoint, I had injuries in high school, you know, I did suffer concussions, I had a knee injury. Those kinds of things. And I wasn’t going, bro. And then when you go to college, to me, um, if you’re a student athlete, which student athletes are awesome and you gotta have a lot of respect for them because they’re competing on two levels, they’re competing against that athlete who’s focused on 100% being that athlete and then they’re focused. They’re competing against that student who’s 100% focused on being that student.
Right. And neither are easy separately.
Neither are easy separately. So being a college athlete to me is I tip my hats to them. Um, it’s a great opportunity, you know, paying for school and being able to do what you love. Uh, but for me it was, it was all the way up until high school. And I had a great high school experience that I was, I was a captain of the football team my senior year and co-captain of the, uh, the baseball team. So for me, high school sports were very memorable. I had a great experience and that gave me a solid foundation to always want to do something physical and be healthy.
Same here. I love that. Yeah. I wish I could have played farther. I’ve was, if I think if I was just a little better or in a better market, I was in a bad area or we didn’t, we didn’t send many people off to go play. But, um, so yeah, I totally get that. And which is also why I’ve kind of continued my life in sports, not so much as somebody people as someone anyone’s watching, but as someone who watches others and experiences that there are others. I’m talking about it like we are today. So I mentioned that you’re the CEO of Interactive Sports Groups, so focus in on the interactive football piece of this and that’s what we’re kind of going to focus on I think today. I want to ask you like in your own words, what’s a quick overview of what exactly is interactive football?
All right, I’ll do my best to keep that brief because interactive football is huge in terms of, uh, what we’re doing, um, the way it was founded and created as a great story. Matter of fact, it’s a great Frisco story, you know, I’ll get into that. But what we do is we basically, in a nutshell, we use wearable technologies to make sports safer, more interactive, and more fun. And that’s where all athletes, and we’re focused right now on youth athletes. So what we do is we look at that young athlete and we say, how do we make sports safer and fun so that they can enjoy sports and not be so concerned about injuries? We’re today at the point where injuries are part of many sports. We just accept it. We accept that they have to go see doctors to get knees drained and get knees fixed and all sorts of different physical injuries that they have to deal with.
It’s become the norm. And unfortunately, thank you. Thank you. And I don’t accept it. And so, so for me it’s, it’s an, I’m a back of my, my background is in engineering, so I’m an engineer. And so what engineers really focused on doing is solving complex problems. So the problem I see is these young athletes or athletes in general who are enjoying this great game of sports. And we as fans love watching our kids or our professional athletes play, but they’re getting injured and they’re getting hurt. The problem is we only have one body and we don’t have two, three and any injury we have can add up. So our focus is thinking about how do we make sports still fun, still exciting, even more fun, even more exciting and have it safer. Can we do that? Yes, yes we can do that. And we’ve come up with some technologies. We’re continuing to develop technologies to make sports again, savor more interactive and fun for everyone. And that’s how we started football. This interactive football product is the first product that we’re bringing to market to showcase how we can utilize these technologies for kids to enjoy this great game of sports. And football is probably the biggest opportunity right now in terms of shifts.
It makes most sense to, to start there. So this is like the shark tank moment. So was this something that came out, um, to be a solution to a problem that you saw personally? How did you create this?
Absolutely. Great question, Kelly. And this is why I love the story and this is what keeps me motivated. So I have two daughters. I have a 16 year old daughter and a 13 year old daughter, when my oldest was 10 years old. So this is back in, well, when she was 10 years old, um, she wanted to play, tackle football. And I said, now baby, I can’t be playing tackle football. And you know, and she said, why? And I was like, well, I don’t want you to get hurt. And I think I did say because you’re a girl and that was wrong. And I, yeah, but you know, cause you know, as a, as a father with daughters, you know, you want to protect your girls, right? Um, just like your sons. But definitely my daughters. Yeah. And so, but she’s stubborn, you know, she, she knew she wanted to play and she was like, well, I want to play. And, and for me, wanting to give my, my kids the best experience and wanting them to feel that they can do anything, there’s no barriers. Go get it. I said, well, okay, well let’s do this. Let’s compromise. Let’s go to the Y the first go. Why? And I’ll coach the team and let’s play flag football and see if you enjoy that. And, um, we’ll play and see how that goes. And so I signed her up and I coached the team. And Kelly, I gotta tell you, it was the biggest challenge trying to teach these kids to pull on a flag that’s blowing in the wind and the person’s right there, but they couldn’t grab the flag. And, um, for me it was frustrating to try to coach the kids, but, you know, we, we went through it, but it stuck in my head through that season. Wow, there’s gotta be a better way. And then when I grew up, I was saying, well, you know, before I played tackle football, I didn’t play tackle football until middle school. And when I was playing, uh, growing, playing football, growing up, we’d play in the backyard. To hand touch. Right. And, and we enjoyed it. It was a great game. We, we, we, you couldn’t tell us we were playing, we were playing football. The challenge though was if you touch somebody and they said, no you didn’t.
Oh, the arguing. Oh, I have a, I have almost 10 year old little boy and any time I’m around him and his friends playing football, it’s like a screaming fest. Every play. It’s awful. It’s, it’s maddening. I’m like, are y’all enjoying this? It doesn’t sound fun.
It takes away from the game. So what we said is if there is a way that we can use technology to denote the tackle, like when I touched you, then a light and buzzer goes off so you can hear it and you can see it. So no one can argue. There’s no doubt. And, and at the time, here’s the beauty back. You know, about what six years ago you stopped, certain things happen. You saw that, uh, Will Smith, the concussion movie was out around that time. So people were more aware of, of certain things in terms of health and football. I mean a lot of the folks that are hall of famers and all of the folks that we just thought were living their best lives, we found out that bodies are broken and it’s, yeah. And, and, and not living a good quality of life. And that’s painful to see. So you had that Junior [inaudible] around that time committed suicide and it’s just a, it was a sad state, right? Yeah.
And the NFL was under a lot of screens.
A lot of scrutiny. Yeah. But football is great. I mean it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a teach as an athlete, there’s, it’s almost second to none what you learn on the football field about dealing with physical pain, dealing with being on a team. It’s all sacrifice. I mean, you’re sacrificing as that person’s running the ball. You’re sacrificing everything you can to block to get out the way. Whatever you’re doing is, is, is this, is this, it’s a very much sacrifice. Learn to play as a team member, giving up your best interest for someone else’s best interests, learning to work through and persevere. It’s football is great adversity. Yes, exactly. So, so at that same time you had as well as the safety concerns, you also had some awesome things happening like IOT, so internet of things. So you had technologies that were being developed where sensors are getting a lot smaller, you had the infrastructure with broadband and wifi and things that allow data to be able to be get communicated, um, in real time, a lot faster. So a lot of innovation was happening and, and for me as a, as an engineer, looking at all these different problems and seeing the tools that were now available at your disposal, it said, you know what, if we could come up with some technology that someone could wear with the gloves and make it smart, then you know what, I think we’d have a good opportunity in the marketplace.
Okay. So then it’s wearable technology, but we’re describing this over the airwaves where someone can’t see it if they’re not, if they’re not actually touching these things. Tell me what we’re talking about. Cause we’re talking about something you’ve, you’ve mentioned the touch. So we’re talking about gloves that you’re wearing on your hand and then it’s a vest that someone’s wearing on their body. And so tell me what the gear actually looks like. Got it.
Now the gear, before I get into the gear, the gear, the whole concept of the gear is allow the athlete to simply play football. So the gear is transparent to the athlete, the athletes just doing what they do and the gear just allows them and empowers them to express their athleticism. So that’s the concept I want to give you. Okay? Now the way that happens is the athlete wears a pair of gloves and they wear a vest and we have a special football. So when the athlete is holding the football, the equipment is smart, so it knows, Hey, I have the football, and then it says, you know what? If someone from the opposite team touches me, then you know what? I’m going to activate, I’m going to make a sound and I’m going to light it up. If I don’t have the ball, then it’s not going to activate. That’s why we’ve made it smart. If you intercept the ball now it knows that you have the ball and if you get touched and it’s not touched everywhere, there’s certain areas that we put the sensor technology because we want to, uh, what was that word? We want to make sure that we’re encouraging solid football fundamentals and safety. So there’s nothing below the waist. There’s nothing on the front of the vest is all on this side. So your shoulders and your back. Why? Because force equals mass times acceleration and energy has to be expanded. So if you have two forces coming together face to face, that energy has to go somewhere, which is the challenge that tackle football in any collision based sport has. Right? So with us, we’ve got technology and we’ve removed any technology from the front. So the athlete has to do something different in order not to, to uh, I guess crash.
The runner has to be more agile, right? And, and understand how to evade those other, those other people. And then, but the, the defensive players have to understand that like they’re not reaching down for a flag anymore. Right there. Their head is looking downfield field downfield whatever up and they’re reaching out to touch their glove with the, with the technology and it has to touch a shoulder, a back shoulder, you know, a certain part of the body with enough force to say, okay that would have been a tackle.
Yeah. And if you look at tackle football, right? Cause that’s a fundamentally where we start from, that’s the form of football that we’re basing ours on. So in tackle football, what you do if, when, when a person has the ball, the ball carrier is coming towards you, you break down, right? And once you break down and you’re going to make that tackle, you wrap and you keep your head up and you make that tackle chest, right? Instead of chest, right with us, you break down and you hold and you wait for that athlete holding the ball to make a football move, they’re going to go right or they’re going to go left. And based on whether they go right or left, then you do a technique to touch. And we teach that technique to touch, right? So then if they’re, if that person running the ball is very athletic and they get by you, well now you’re chasing them down the field and you touch them on the back and you’ll make the tackle. So we’ve covered that. The beauty of it is if that athlete and what we think is when they become age 14 when they’re, when the body is more mature and then they can transition to tackle the transition from our form of football to the tackle form of football is seamless instead of breaking down and waiting to go right or left, you break down and then go and wrap and make your tackle. Right. So we aligned very well with the tackle form of football when and if that athlete chooses to play tackle in the future.
Okay. And you mentioned the ball. So this isn’t a regular ball either. The ball is smart enough to know who has possession and then that dictates who, what counts when someone touches another player.
Kelly. Yeah, we, we spent years developing this technology to make it seamless, like turning on a light switch. So it’s very accurate. And yes, the ball is, uh, is it has sensor around the ball so that when you hold it and you touch it with a glove, so when the, when you’re holding it with a glove, then it knows that it’s who’s got the ball.
So if there’s a fumble recovery or interception, and like you said, like some, if possession changes unexpectedly, it’s not like the play’s dead and you guys can’t figure it out. Like it’s still goes on as normal.
It goes on as normal. It cause it’s, it’s, it’s fundamental to the game based on that, that first premise, our equipment is transparent to the game. What we do is just empower the athlete to play this awesome game of football. Yeah.
Okay then, so let’s talk about that athlete. So Brooke, who are you guys looking at as you know, your ideal user? We’ve talked about younger athletes and girls and boys and all these things. Um, so are we, are we at a specific, um, gender or age range or is this for adults and everybody who, who do you think can use this?
Everybody can use it. And that’s the great part about it. We know that we have rec leagues as well as adult rec leagues. And even when you look at high school tournaments who do touch football now you have something solid to use. So that’s the great thing about it. It’s very versatile. So we have it for the younger people, for them to be safe and if they would like to to transition into tackle football. And then we also have it for the older adults who bodies aren’t what they were when they were younger and they’re out there to have a good time and they don’t want to fight amongst each other and go home to their, you know, their husbands or their wives hurt or hitting the ground for, you know, 40 year olds like me does not work well. That’s right. That’s not a good idea. And I am positive that it works for everyone. For the simple fact that I’ve worked with flag football before. When I was back in Atlanta, I coached the flag football team youth and I also held the flags for adult flag football. And I think that it’s something that everyone can benefit from as far as actually loving the game for what it is and playing the game as well as when it comes to the younger kids transition into real football. And not just that but transferable skills. One thing that we do know about sports is it’s good to play more than one sports. Uh, for sure. Studies have shown that. And we also have spoken about how we play multiple sports. And that’s the great thing about this. If you’re not a football player, you can still play this sport and the skills are transferred. If you want to play volleyball, if you want to play tennis, if you want to play basketball because it still has no transferable skills as far as the speed, the agility, the coordination, being able to react is just, it’s all encompassing and it’s safe.
Yeah. So it’s really anybody, anybody who wants to get out and move can do it. So you mentioned like league play. So, um, individual consumers can probably buy, you know, a set and go play. But then are you also facilitating a tournament and things? I mean.
Absolutely. I actually, the way we’re launching, because this is brand new, right? We’re launching this right now and unfortunately due to COVID, it’s kind of a put some things on hold and everyone says, yeah, this is happening in real time. So we’re launching right now and we’re launching here in Frisco. I mean, this is sports city USA. Uh, it’s a great Frisco’s story. Technology develops right here first go resident for over 12 years. Um, incorporate a lot of, uh, local businesses to make this thing happen. So we’re excited to launch right here and right now. Um, so we’re actually launching leagues and tournaments. So right now an individual can’t just, uh, purchase a unit and the reason being as an individual, you, you need to be right, right? And we want to make sure in the beginning that we get this out in a camp or league something that is organized so that we can make sure that the experience is what we expected, which is second to none. And we’re very much focused not just on that child, right? That’s our, when we talk about product development is all about that athlete where we talk about how we launch this product. We’re thinking not just the athlete, we’re thinking the parents, we’re thinking the local community. We’re thinking all the different parties that are impacted. How do we make sure that experience is great? Coaches and the refs.
Yeah, there’s a lot, right? There’s a lot. I liked that, that you didn’t, you know, you’re not just throwing out, Hey, go buy the vest in the gloves and good luck because like you said, that wouldn’t be the ideal experience for an individual.
It will be soon though. Yeah. I mean this is all part of our, our launch strategy in the product, so the first step is to get the product out through the leagues, the camps where we have a strong influence and then grow.
And can educate people. That’s what I was going to say. That piece would be missing if a parent just bought it for their child. I mean they wouldn’t know what to do with it yet, but if you’ve played a season or two and mitigate exposure to it and have been taught how to play with it, then that’s different than your neighborhood kid can each having a play with it and a mental note, I’m like, Oh, PTAs is need to buy this for their coach. There are PE coaches. Yeah, because I mean on my elementary campus, I think they’ve outlawed football a few times because there’s, there’s a lot of not only the fighting but the injuries on the these little guys and girls that are probably out there playing. But it’s a better, safer way to make that happen.
Yes. We are the answer, and it’s, it’s, you just talked about PE, but if you look at school districts nationwide, if you look at athletic programs nationwide, some have totally took away or taken away or ended their football because one, either they don’t have the insurance to cover it or to the interest has waned because not many parents, one in three parents. So the study was done, one and three are concerned about their child’s safety playing this game of football one and three, one in three. And if you think about it, it’s not even a concept of, let me roll the dice. The data is there that says if you expose your kid before the age of 14 to, what was it called? Repeated impact, you’re exposing them to risk of injury. Right.
I am one of the one for sure it worries me only just because as a parent on the sidelines, I, I’ve seen a lot of Peewee football from age five up to 10, um, was in it every weekend. And it’s really hard. It’s hard as a parent to see these young kids hit the ground so hard, even with a helmet on, um, that they, they can’t walk off the field and they can’t go to school for two weeks cause they can’t see correctly. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s heartbreaking.
Break it down just a little bit more to when you look at the impact of concussions on youth. Um, well let’s say concussions on, and first of all, let me say I love football at all, all ages, but I want to make sure that this concept is totally understood of why we’re so passionate about sports safety, right? If you look at a professional athlete who gets a concussion, um, so there’s a concussion protocol that they follow and so they can’t practice for awhile. Uh, they’re at home, they see their doctor, they go through some tests. When they clear, then they can go, go back to the field. That’s the athlete, that’s the league, that’s the team. When a high school student gets a concussion, it’s not the same. High school kid gets a concussion, they stay home. But guess what? This school has to be informed. The teachers that teach that kid have to be informed. The counselor has to be informed. And then when the kid comes back to school, because now the kid has to come back, or the young athlete he comes back to school has to learn and if his mind is not right, right? The teachers have to be aware of that. And so they have to have that additional awareness to make sure that that student who has a bank and worked through, um, is looked after. So impacts the school, it impacts the athlete, impacts the teachers, that impacts the counselors. It impacts the parents and probably their friends too.
Sure. Right. It’s a big ripple effect. Ripple effect. And that’s just strike one. Right? I mean, when it happens again or a third time, I mean, this will end some kids’ seasons, you know, if you’ve had it too many times. I mean, and this is not just a football thing. I have kids that play other sports. There’s plenty of concussions in the sports that we play. Also, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, I mean, cheerleading, yes. [inaudible] for females. Yes. So I am not naive enough to think of that. Oh, you only get concussions in football, but I’m just saying the repetitiveness of it. But you know, after the second or third one, you might not be able to be cleared to play for several months. Exactly. How that works.
You know, and I actually had the honor of, um, the doctor that Will Smith played in concussion. My first, I want to say my freshman, my first year in grad school, he came to Georgia State to speak. And I went. And the way he described it, just the anatomy of it, how our brain sits in a liquid is not tied down anything. And when the kid gets tackled their, you know, their brain hits against their skull and there’s no way of tracking that something is truly wrong until it’s too late. Like those other athletes who things have happened to right. And he, he really made it simple. He said, if you wouldn’t tell your child to, if you want to allow your child to smoke cigarettes, don’t allow your child to play tackle football. Wow. He said, just as simple as hitting the child upside the head when you playing is a bad idea because our brains aren’t attached to anything. It sits in illiquid and wherever our head goes, the brain shifts. It’s fascinating and it’s hard to make it controllable and safe. And especially at that young, I mean that’s mostly what we’re talking about here. You’re not trying to solve the NFL.
No, not at all. Not at all. And keep kids. Yes. No.
Two things we’re doing. Yeah. We want to keep the kids safe, right? Head, safe, body safe. And how we tie to the NFL, I’d love to say we tie to the NFL is we want to say that we protect the athletes body, right? Mind and body from the time they’re young until 14, if not a higher age to make sure that they’re there. They have the least amount of injuries possible right before they decide to go play tackle. That way when they do go to the NFL, they’ve got less injuries, right? They’ve got less, uh, repeated contact or, or impacts, right? Which should equate to a prolonged healthy professional career, which, which benefits the NFL or any pro sport and benefits the athlete for sure because their body’s healthy and they can play longer. So what we see is protecting that athlete, giving them the same, if not better experience in terms of becoming an elite athlete, if they want to become an elite athlete. And then folks who just love the game like me, I didn’t become an elite athlete, but I enjoyed the game. No need to expose our bodies to needless damage. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
All right. Tell me about this dream team. Oh, the dream team. I’ve been watching a lot of last dance Michael Jordan lately.
Right. So I gotta give you a little bit of a backstory why we have, have a dream team. So like I said, I’ve been in Frisco for about 12 years. Um, first goes in awesome town. Um, it’s the first time when I moved here that I ever moved to a community because I wanted to, I’ve lived in Detroit, Chicago, Kentucky, California, different places, but this was the first place I moved because I wanted to raise my in this awesome community, uh, which would education with sports and whatnot and be involved in the community. So when we got here, uh, one of the things that I’ve done for the last nine years has been part of the young entrepreneurs academy. So we teach kids how to start businesses. And what’s unique about the program is not only the kids learn about business, but they actually start a business.
Yes. I love that program. We, Lifestyle Frisco, we write about it, we share those kids’ stories. Yeah, it’s really neat to see what, what’s coming up.
It’s, it’s, it’s awesome. And what I got from that program, and it’s a joint venture between the EDC, the Frisco ISD and the Frisco chamber of commerce. So great folks came together to make sure this happened. Um, and so what’s beautiful about it is every year we’ve had awesome kids, 24 kids who come up with business concepts and start it. Now why is that? How’s it tied to the dream team? Well, as we’re going through the process, we have the Kate center and the Kate center has students who work on a graphics design, website design. And we utilize those students and their, their training to work with the student businesses to develop their graphics and whatnot. And that was the first time I was exposed to the awesome level of quality that our students are delivering. I was like, wow, these are high school students. And the graphics looked like this. I was like, whoa. Yeah, it is amazing. And then it made me too to really think about how to utilize these kids in terms of two things with our dream team, I wanted to put together a dream team to help launch interactive football league here in Frisco and then utilize their skills to bring it to market. Now what’s the benefit? So for the student, it gives them an opportunity to participate in a startup from the ground up to really see, well what does it take to start a business and to really grow, gain market share, and to get people to support, you know, not only do you not just have a product, you don’t just have a plan, you have to execute the plan and then you have to adjust. So I wanted them to gain that in a very, um, safe environment. It was something very real when something that if we do it right that in years to come this is going to be huge and they will know that they had a significant part in being that I wanted to give them that.
That’s this is your baby though. Your prob they’re lucky to have, you know, somebody mentoring them with their baby project that they’re not kidding around. This is a passionate thing. So they probably are learning a lot from you.
They are, we have 15 of these high school students and they represent three different Frisco high schools in the district. And um, and we’re glad to have them on board. But the beautiful part of it too is that when you think about who we’re trying to impact, it’s the athlete in middle school and elementary school. That’s our first market and it’s the parents of those athletes and his coaches. So what better people to help you reach those other than high school students? Because they have access to kids that age. They know the teachers in the schools and they also know the coaches and they’re involved in the community. So we see it as a win, win, win. And we’re trying to prove a point too. We’re trying to prove the point that’s already been proven to actually, we’re trying to build upon that point that this, the FISD has a sharpest students in the nation and they can do awesome things and we’re putting that to work.
I love that. I love this idea because as I said, you know, I want kids to stay safer as in play more sports, as long as they can and enjoy them. Be out there longer and in love it because when you’re hurt and you sidelined or for whatever reason, um, even if you’re just playing the same sport too much and you get burnt out. I hate when kids sports careers and just because I don’t know, something like that. So I love this idea and, um, what can, what, you know, what can we do to help? What do you want our listeners to know or how to contact you or what’s the conversation gonna look like?
Great,great question. Um, obviously this coven has, uh, changed a lot of things and, um, it’s, you know, the sad thing about covert is the, the, the just the house ravaging the globally taking lives and uh, it’s putting a lot of families in a lot of strain, right? And that’s, um, strain would, loss of family members, that strain of loss of income. So it’s a very tough time. On the flip side, these times also force us to become creative. Um, there’s going to be businesses, there’s going to be opportunities that come from this that make us better as a community. And those companies that are able to adapt that able to change to see what the market is going to be, are going to have, uh, good opportunities. Sure. So what we’re doing and that backdrop, we’re adapting, right? So what we’re, what we’re doing now is right now kids can’t come together and play in large groups. So we’re building with Brooks leadership and online community and we’re getting that community together. We’re giving them positive feedback each and every day. Um, we’re reaching out to them, making sure that they’re okay. And we’re also starting a series. So we’re doing a three part webinar series that introduces interactive football to the community. And that’s in series one, the next series, which is, I love this, this series two, we’re having a panel with former and former pro players, some athletes and with also with um, kids and some coaches. Cool. I to get, yeah. So what we’re doing, we’re sending them two units cause we want to make sure, you know, they can’t go out and play, but with their family, they’re going to get a chance to experience our technology and the equipment and play it. And then once they evaluate it, a week later, we’re going to have them on our webinar, live on Facebook live, and we’re going to get their feedback and have them talk about what their experience was. And then the series is we wanted to show people the applications of our technology in terms of educating our kids. Because what we’re, we’re, we’re educated, we love education, we love beyond just the athlete playing sports. We want to, uh, them to gain some, some strong, uh, uh, knowledge. So we’re tying, we’re showing how we tie our technology to STEM. So science, technology, engineering, math, we want to make sure people see that they can use our equipment as a platform to teach kids how to, uh, love STEM. Right. And then also we want them to see how to use our equipment to learn solid football fundamentals. Right. So the academic and the fun, right? The fundament.
Yeah. You have, you have married your engineering and your football, haven’t you? You can’t help that.
Well, I love it. It’s awesome. So the interactive-football.com is the actual website. It’ll be posted in the show notes, but um, I urge people to go out and find you and watch those. Um, so the Facebook is where people will see the series, right? Correct. Okay, cool. I’ll try to, to share that when I see it too. But I’m so excited about this. Thanks for taking time and chatting with me, educating me. I’ve got a lot more to learn about it, but I love, I love it.
Yeah. Just one other thing I wanted to say is, you know, the different audiences, we want them to see certain things. Of course the athlete, we want them to see this as a great sport. But as a parent, we want to make sure that parent sees what we’re producing as, um, more information for them to make a decision to say, all right, right now if, if my kid says they want to play football, my only option is tackle or flag what we want to say. Parents, you have more options. Matter of fact, you have the best option. Interactive football is your best option to give your child a great football experience and not be so concerned about them being injured. So that’s what I wanted to say about that. And then Kelly, I didn’t even get a chance to really talk about the technology and where we’re going with phase two, but maybe that’s another conversation for another day. But the data part of what we’re doing and how we’re going to change, uh, uh, sports and sports analytics, is this going to be off the chain.
Then, or one of the webinars, we’ll actually have, um, athletes who came out and did some demos with us, so they’ll be able to, um, explain how they felt about it. Us out of the, um, people who get their, um, sets of uniforms. We have people who, before we were all sent inside the house, who actually had a chance to play in real time and play with the team. So that, that’ll be fun to hear your feedback for sure.
Awesome. Well, I can’t wait to see it in action too when we’re able to, you know, get out. Everybody wants to get back outside and play and we’re getting there. We’re getting there. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but thank you. And so, thank you everyone for listening to this episode of hustle and pro. Go check out Interactive Football’s, a Facebook page, and, um, if you haven’t subscribed to Hustle and Pro already, subscribe on whatever method that you use to listen to your podcasts. We will see you next week. Thanks.