LONGWOOD, Fla. — When it comes to playing football, it's no secret that more parents are hesitant to let their children play if there is a potential of suffering a concussion.
- Longwood deputy mayor Matt Morgan raises $6,000 for flex helmets
- Flex helmets protect high school football players from concussions
- Ex-WWE wrestler Morgan to jump back into ring to raise more funds
- Get more Seminole County coverage
Longwood Deputy Mayor Matt Morgan, though, is trying to do his part to make the game safer for Lyman High School football players.
As a professional wrestler for the WWE, Morgan was used to delivering body slams and big blows.
Now, he's trying to answer the call made by Greyhounds head football coach Dennis Thomas who, before last season, was desperate to find help for his program.
"I was emailing anyone I could email, in the city," Thomas said. "Semi-famous, major famous, mayors, police commissioners, and Matt Morgan is the one that responded."
By raising just less than $6,000 last year, Morgan was able to buy Lyman 16 new Riddell SpeedFlex helmets, which can reduce the chance of suffering a concussion.
At a Longwood City Commission meeting Monday night, Morgan told the city, "Last year, they had 15 concussions with none of those anti-concussion helmets; this year, they had just one."
Thomas has 16 now, but he wants one for every player in his program, including varsity, junior varsity and freshman — which means another $10,000 to $15,000 needs to be raised. The new helmets cost about $350 each.
"(We want) as many as we can get," Thomas said. "I'm not a beggar or anything like that, but (I want) whatever we can get to make our kids safer and get kids out here to play football."
To that end, Morgan is stepping back into the wrestling ring. Morgan will have a match that is free to the public, but all donations will go toward buying Lyman more football helmets.
Morgan's match will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Reiter Park in Longwood. His opponent has not yet been announced.