Guardian Athletics Announces Partnership with Rich Gannon, Former NFL Quarterback and CBS Sports Game Analyst

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Guardian Athletics announces partnership with Rich Gannon, former NFL quarterback and CBS Sports game analyst

Guardian Athletics, an innovation-driven sports company, announces the partnership with Rich Gannon, former NFL quarterback and CBS Sports game analyst.

With this partnership, Gannon will help raise awareness of the importance of protecting players with the right gear, preventing injuries through proper training, and ensuring all players, coaches, and trainers are utilizing the right recovery protocols post-injury on the field. This partnership solidifies the mission of the company and their flagship product, Kato Collar, a new category of football equipment to enhance player safety.

With its innovative design and technology, Kato Collar features a patented two-stage deceleration process with impact absorption pads and a collar that flexes. Kato Collar slows down a player’s head upon impact to keep the brain from reaching those extreme points where injuries occur.

"Football has been a big part of my life and I've been fortunate to be associated with the NFL for over 30 years,” says Gannon. “Unfortunately, injuries are a big part of our game and that's why the safety element to me is absolutely critical. I'm excited to partner with Guardian Athletics and the Kato Collar because I believe this is a piece of equipment that can help players at any level. The design & technology behind the collar is proven to help reduce the forces that are believed to cause concussions, helping to keep players safer on the field. We're excited to see it in action this season."

Gannon had his finest season in 2002 setting NFL and franchise records in leading the Raiders to their third straight AFC Western Division title and advancing to Super Bowl 37 as the AFC Champions. That same year Gannon was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player becoming only the third Raider in team history to be named the NFL's MVP. He also was selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl and was the Pro Bowl's Most Valuable Player in 2001 and 2002.

“We’re thrilled to have Rich as a member of our team,” says Jeff Chambers, founder of Guardian Athletics. “Together, we’ll be able to combine our voices to evangelize the importance of all of the ways we can make football as safe as possible and build confidence with the football community to help recruit young players into the game.”

While helmets provide a level of protection for the skull, the brain can still move with impact causing head injuries, particularly concussions. A concussion is a serious injury to the brain resulting from the rapid acceleration and deceleration of brain tissue within the skull.1

Kato Collar’s unique design decelerates the head after impact by up to 30 percent2 and reduces the forces that are believed to cause concussions. Kato Collar’s design adds another layer of protection for the brain and prevents burners and stingers, a common injury among football players.

On a player, Kato Collar is positioned behind the neck and attaches easily to the inside of the shoulder pads. Unlike traditional football collars, Kato Collar’s design allows for full active range of motion, so a player can perform with optimal confidence on the field. Because of this design, field testers indicated elimination of burner/stingers and biomechanical testing shows up to 30 percent decrease in movement of the head, crucial to eliminating the forces and mechanisms that can lead to a concussion.2

Kato Collar is compatible with most adult-sized Large and above shoulder pads. Kato Collar is available to order online at

Additional product information along with videos on the science behind Kato Collar can be found at

1Concussion Legacy Foundation
2Thirty-percent decrease based on biomechanical testing at Chesapeake Labs, Belcamp, MD

About Guardian Athletics
Based in Mankato, Minnesota, Guardian Athletics is an innovation-driven company built around the belief that there is a better way to approach football safety around concussions and other head and neck injuries. Founded in 2008, the company’s flagship product Kato Collar with its patented deceleration design slows down the forces on a player’s head after the initial impact of the hit and keeps the head from reaching those extreme points where injuries occur. For more information, visit

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Zeb Carlson
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