Update: Football season back on for young kids in Fowlerville

Shortly after the season was canceled, it was restored thanks to a new partnership and community support.
Football season canceled for young kids in Fowlerville
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 5:36 PM EDT
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UPDATE: 11:05 P.M.: An email from Fowlerville Community Schools Recreation Coordinator, Cheryl Dixon shared with News 10 says that a new company, Capital Varsity Sports, will inspect, clean, and recertify the helmets for use during the season, allowing the Gladiators to play this year.

Read the email below:

To All of Our Amazing Football Families,

I’m sorry for the late evening email but, I want to thank all of you that have been so patient, so helpful, and so supportive in offering your help and support in whatever way possible, and in sending people our way to offer their services. There aren’t enough words or ways to thank everyone who has been involved. There have been so many and we are working our way through to respond to each of them as quickly as possible.

Currently, we have a company, Capital Varsity Sports, that we are working with, who has accepted our helmets for cleaning, inspecting, and recertification. They are going to be working hard to get all of our helmets back to us in time. They feel very confident that they can accomplish this and have a goal in place to have them to us at the end of August, even if they come in in phases, barring anything crazy or extreme that would delay it.

With the possibility of it coming in phases, we will work from the 7th and 8th grade varsity level and work our way down to our younger levels. We will be contacting the 7th and 8th grade families to get sized so that we are sure those come back first if they aren’t coming in all at the same time.

We are still working on new helmets as well. I’ve been in contact with KVYFC. They have a number of helmets that we can borrow to get us through the season. I do not have a set number yet as they are still working to pool their resources. I’ll update as soon as I am able to.

I will give you more information as soon as I have it. I have not been able to get to every email or voicemail today, but I will be back at it first thing in the morning.

Have a good night. Again, thank you to all of you. I love, love this community!!

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Due to unsafe helmets, there will be no football season for children in the Fowlerville Youth Football League.

The existing helmets were dropped off to a company that promised to recondition them. In late July, the company returned the helmets, but they were not fixed.

League organizers were unable to find another company to fix them in time, so they made the difficult decision to cancel the season.

“When I heard my mom say it, my heart just dropped,” said Kole Murphy. “Like my soul left my body.”

“I was upset. Surprised,” said Nathan Tsosie. “Disbelief, honestly. It’s just sad.”

Some children struggled to find the words to explain their heartbreak. A season full of promise was ripped out from under them. The boys found out Wednesday night that there wouldn’t be a football season.

Molly Pappas had to break the bad news to her son.

“It was so difficult. I mean he’s been doing this since he was six. He’s 12 now, so that’s half of his life,” Pappas said. “He’s been in the same program with the same kids and they were so excited.”

She’s not alone. Parents of recreational football players from first to eighth grade had to tell their children after they were told the company responsible for reconditioning their helmets sent them back incomplete.

The boys will have the option to play flag football, but they said it’s not the same.

“It’s more difficult to play tackle for so many years and then just switch the flag football,” Tsosie said. “And it’s not the same because you can get fumbles, but it’s not as easy.”

Parents are urging the community to come together for their boys.

“It’s really unfortunate what happened,” Pappas said. “There are other solutions. We could find helmets we could rally together and make it work, make it happen.”

“Football is the heart of this town and we’re going to do everything we can for them to make sure it happens,” said Morgan Davison.

For these Fowlerville football players, it’s more than just a season and it’s more than just a game.

“I really realized during this it’s not about the team that we’re playing, it’s not about Fowlerville, it’s about the people that make it Fowlerville,” said Hunter Pappas. “I don’t care if we’re Gladiators or if we’re Ice Cream Cones. I just care if we’re together and we still have that brotherhood.”

“To have that brothership, like Hunter said, just to have people that care,” Tsosie said.

They said all they want is to play football, no matter what it takes.

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