'Educate and Equip': Niceville parents turn tragedy to charity in DeFuniak

Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 04:18 PM.

Since keeping kids out of sports programs is not an option — Taylor himself played sports pretty much since he was born, Brian said — providing teams with professional, protective equipment is a major goal of the Taylor Haugen Foundation.

"We don't want to prevent kids from playing the sports of his/her dreams," Brian said.

And so, the foundation has outfitted almost 1,000 athletes from 25 different teams in the Southeast with EvoShield rib shields.  

"We want to educate and equip," Brian said.

Brian and Kathy did the necessary research that led them to EvoShield. Through grants from St. Joe Community Foundation and local fundraising, they've set out to cover the entire local region in protective gear, with sights set on expanding nationwide.

"We've had some requests from California and have provided to teams in Memphis and Birmingham ," Brian said.

The rib shields, Brian notes, are worn by professional football players, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III uses them. The shields provide extra padding in the right and left side of the ribs and they're three times more efficient than traditional gear.

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