The Times We live In

Jim Caldwell, Executive VP, Unequal

With summer upon us but no rest for the weary, this article updates on our collaboration with NSBA members regarding commotio cordis and tools to inform coaches, players and parents…and also to notify you that we have entered the fray of school violence with a defensive solution for kids we believe is worthy of consideration. With school shootings occurring all-too often, constant arguments on gun rights vs. gun control and much-needed discussions on what schools can do to thwart such tragedies, Unequal is standing in the gap with an answer that every school, parent and child can get behind… literally. 

No one can ever accuse us of tiptoeing around difficult subjects or events!  

You might have seen an article or been flipping channels earlier this month and seen the flood of stories around Unequal SafeShield™ technology.  From CNN to USA Today to NY Times to Sky News and everywhere in between, our defensive Safe Shield insert for virtually any child’s backpack was front and center.  Here’s an example.   A middle school principal gave each in her 8th grade graduating class a SafeShield as certainly a sober reminder of what could be a part of their future.  

Needless to say, we never thought a few years ago that we would be actually doing R&D to create a product that would protect kids (and faculty) in this way.  We had to think about things like making it fool-proof. Could we make something that kids could or would actually use correctly?  It had to be lightweight -- What parent would want to load down already heavy backpacks with seemingly superfluous added weight? And of course it had to be effective.  So, it was a challenge.  But the result was worth it. 

The SafeShield is kid friendly, less than 20 ounces, you can’t put it in wrong, it just slips into any backpack, with either side protecting equally. And it stands up to a lot of firepower. Our military pedigree certainly came in handy.  The video in the above link shows the SafeShield effectively stopping several types of threats.

It is a harsh reality that these types of events and how to deal with them are on school board radars.  Communications to parents explaining your readiness, regular drills to practice response measures, working with community partners to better align goals, teaching student alertness and the value of ‘see something, say something,’ how to help all involved shoulder the aftermath of a violent event… all the while reminding stakeholders that schools in general are very safe … the list is long.

We applaud school board leadership as you wrestle with budgets, time, options and policies to put in place where you can be as ready as possible to switch to a defensive crouch if the unthinkable should happen.

When it comes to physical safety of students and faculty you may want to consider the SafeShield.  In fact, we would welcome your opinion on the value of a ‘lease program’ where out-of-pocket for SafeShields is significantly reduced, paid for over time, and with parents contributing a relatively nominal annual amount toward the program. We would value your input. Working together, to develop a SafeShield program that in essence spreads the cost throughout the community, we feel is a worthy effort.  Let us know if you agree.  Write me at with any thoughts.


Commotio Cordis Update

In April, at the NSBA convention in San Antonio, we met hundreds in school board leadership from around the country and spoke to a packed house on the realities of sudden death from commotio cordis.  As a company dedicated to providing state-of-the-art sports protection to high school and other youth athletes, we at Unequal were heartened by the authentic response and reactions to our technology, clinically proven at Tufts Medical Center to reduce the risk of Commotio. 

If you did not have a chance to see us at our booth or intend our seminar, the take-aways were these:  Your obligations under duty of care doctrine mean commotio cordis needs to be on your radar, parents and coaches need to become informed, kids need to have a chance to be better protected.  Regulatory agencies, governing bodies, school districts, sports leagues and teams, athletic directors, even coaches that do not adapt and/or inform parents of the risk and these new technologies, could face significant liability risk, of which they may not even be aware. Failing to at least warn parents of this risk, and the availability of products to minimize it, sets up a liability in much the same way as the office building management that is found liable for an executive who dies of a preventable heart attack because there were no defibrillators in the building.

We created a resource page to aide those seeking information and tools to use to get the word out to coaches, parents and players.  Knowledge overcomes fear and we provide knowledge to reduce the hesitancy and resistance that all too often can stop progress.  Spearheading awareness and proactively getting out in front of this issue is key.  You need to do all that you can to reduce the risk of sudden death happening on your watch.  We are here to help.

Have a nice summer!

For more information on any of the above or to contact directly, please write

Go to top