Parents generally just want the very best for their kids. They want them to feel safe and protected, and they want them to be confident in everything they do. Every parent I talk to tells me the same thing; “As soon as my baby was born a switch flipped in me, and I wanted to protect them from everything.” Now, I haven’t reached the echelons of parenthood yet, but I already know that’s how I will feel when I become a parent one day. I’ll do everything in my power to protect my child and use the lessons I've learned in life to be a guide and coach. That was the case for Mr. Rob Lalain when his son, Robert, first started playing tackle football.
See, when the time came for Robert to choose the helmet he was going to wear for his first tackle football season, Rob drew from his past football experiences playing outside linebacker at Michigan State University, as well as some of the big hits he used to take when playing high school football to guide his son in making this decision.
To help give me some perspective, Rob explained how the protective equipment they used when he played football was NOTHING like today’s football equipment. “We used to wear the old Bike football helmets with the air bladder and some very basic cushioning. That was the technology when I played in the 90’s,” Rob said during our interview. “I can still remember to this day one particular hit that gave me a pretty severe concussion when I was playing in high school,” he continued.
“So, when Robert first started playing football, I remembered hearing about Xenith starting to research a technology for better football helmets. And then after reading the Virginia Tech safety ratings, I thought this is a no-brainer.”
Behind The Gear
When Robert started playing tackle football, he was in third grade, but I asked him what he remembered about pulling on a Xenith helmet for the first time.
“I just remember I came home from school one day and my dad had a SpeedFlex helmet and a Xenith X2 helmet sitting on the kitchen table for me," Rob explained. "He told me to try on both helmets and whichever one I liked better/fit me the best would be the helmet I wear for my first season of tackle football. I tried them both on and I liked the Xenith [helmet] by a long shot. It just fit better, and it felt more comfortable and lighter on my head compared to the Riddell helmet.”
When asked if he ever decided to experiment or try a different helmet, Robert simply said, “No, I chose Xenith and never looked back. I’ve trusted a Xenith helmet for nine years now, and as a quarterback, I’ve taken a lot of big hits from some big guys and I haven’t had any concussions or any other type of head injury. I feel safe and secure in my Xenith equipment and I feel like no matter what, the technology is going to hold up and I’ll be fine at the end of each game.”
“Trust” is the key phrase here, so I thought it made sense at this point to ask Robert and his dad, “Why have you trusted Xenith for so long, and why is Xenith the best fit for you?”
Robert jumped in to say he appreciates the little things Xenith does to stay ahead of the game. He explained how the helmet got better each time he upgraded models, but the Shadow XR was a “big leap,” Robert said. "It's not just that the helmet looks cool - which I get told several times during games - it's the updates that increase comfort and safety that stand out most to me."
“The way you added the fin at the back for increased head to ground protection, those types of technology leaps are huge. It can be very minor details, even improvement in the cushions inside the helmet, the openings on the shell to allow more ventilation, those are all big things!” Robert continued saying, “Another thing I noticed was some of my teammates would have these pressure marks on their heads after taking their helmets off from the air bladder in their helmets being blown up so much to fit properly, and I never had that with my Xenith helmet.”
For Rob, it was also simple; “As a father who played football and wore those obsolete Bike helmets, I just want the best for my son, and to me, my son wearing a Xenith helmet is the best I can do as a father to keep him protected.”
Robert just wrapped up his senior year of high school football, earning accolades for 2022 All Catholic, 2022 All Region and 2022 All State.
Here's a look at Robert's total stats for the 2022 season:
Passing (134/211 Completions, 1900 Yards, 24 TD’s)
Rushing (50 attempts for 305 Yards for 5 TD’s)
Robert has officially committed to play QB for Siena Heights University next season, and also made a point to tell me that he plans to continue wearing a Xenith helmet for as long as he's under center.
Xenith wishes Robert the best of luck next season and beyond as he continues to pursue his football career!
COMMITTED! #JoinTheHunt🐺 #GoSaints🔵🟡 @CoachKohn12 @CoachShaah @SienaHeightsFB pic.twitter.com/pf3WycmALg— Robert Lalain (@LalainRobert) January 3, 2023