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Carter Hogg | G8R Tech Founder & CEO

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2023 6:11 am

Carter Hogg | G8R Tech Founder & CEO

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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September 27, 2023 6:11 am

Founder & CEO of "G8R Tech," a new development in contact sports player safety, Carter Hogg joins the show. Check it out at https://g8rskin.com/

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Shop in store or visit ashley.com today. 19-year-old Carter Hogg is a sophomore defensive back at Johns Hopkins, so he's in the midst of his football season right now. But he has a bigger purpose and right now a greater vision than just playing football. He's actually developed a product called Gator Skin that's a shell used under helmets to protect full contact and extreme sports athletes. And after going through testing, he and the lab results are indicating that it goes a long way toward preventing head injuries in contact sports. And so when the PR rep reached out to me, it took us a while to organize an opportunity around his schedule and around ours, but I had a chance to catch up with Carter on Tuesday afternoon.

It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. Again, the product is called Gator Skin. And Carter, I'd love to know the reaction to this point as you try to get the word out there for more and more football players and athletes. It's been a very, very positive reaction thus far. I think so many people have been touched by concussions in some way, whether it be directly having suffered one or they had a close family member deal with concussions and continue to have ongoing issues with them. So anything new that's going to help get rid of concussions and help prevent them from happening, everyone's looking for that.

And thankfully, we were able to come up with something that is able to help protect players against concussions. And a lot of people are really interested in it at this point. It's really just getting that awareness out there for people so that they can understand what the product does and how it functions, how different from all these other alternatives on the market and how unique it is in that regard.

And how do you do that, considering that it is such an enormous undertaking? First and foremost, in terms of just media, we've been speaking to as many different folks as possible, trying to spread the word as much as we can. There's also many different marketing aspects to it in terms of direct marketing that we're going to be doing to really get people familiar with the product and the inner workings of the product and why it is so important for people to have the Gator Skin as a part of their everyday sports equipment for all these different helmeted sports. Those are the main ways, and it's also just as we get athletes in it, that's naturally going to raise more awareness. Other people are going to see those athletes in it and wonder, well, what are they wearing?

What does that do for them? And that's going to just continue to proliferate throughout sports. How does it work, this invention of yours that is designed not just to keep athletes safer, but to reduce the concussion risk altogether? Yes, so the way the Gator Skin works is anytime you take a hit to the head, there's obviously a certain amount of energy and force associated with that hit. And what Gator Skin does is, for one, similar to how helmets function, it dissipates that energy and reduces that force. But for another, what's unique to Gator Skin is it actively resists the motion of the skull because the root cause of concussions is not the hit to the head, but rather the secondary internal impact between the skull and the brain. And that's just simply because the brain floats around inside your skull. You could compare it to a passenger in a car. If you slam the brakes on, you're going to get thrown forward in your seat. We can't put seatbelts on our brain, so the brain is just going to hit up against the skull. So what the Gator Skin does is it resists that motion of the skull so that that internal collision is either entirely avoided or it is lessened so that it's not as dangerous and it's not as damaging to the brain as otherwise would be if you were not wearing the Gator Skin. How that functions is due to the Gator Skin actively hardening upon impact. It essentially turns from a soft and flexible wearable that's very similar to a balaclava to something that essentially resembles the neck brace in terms of its function upon impact because it's going to become that rigid wearable and really give you that added support that you need.

And I know that there's been testing done. The Virginia Tech Lab is one place that I've read about, but you're also wearing it as a college football player yourself. What does it feel like when you have it on? Past the first couple moments of wearing it, just getting used to the fact that I'm someone who didn't used to wear a balaclava beforehand, it's obviously something that's going to be a much easier transition for people who do wear balclavas or shy skis already.

Past that, it's something you don't really notice that much. And when you take the hit as opposed to taking the hit without the Gator Skin, I'd say there's an absence of the usual feelings and different pains associated with certain levels of hits. And I've had numerous such collisions this season where I know from past experiences with the same helmet, the same shoulder pads and everything like that, that I guess would have been in that amount of pain, maybe not a serious injury in any way, but nevertheless, something I don't want to have to experience on the football field.

And wearing the Gator Skin, I was able to get up as if nothing happened from an injury perspective and just play freely basically for these three games that I've played so far. Carter Hogg is with us here after hours on CBS Sports Radio. He's a sophomore defensive back on the Johns Hopkins football team and is also the CEO and founder of Gator Tech, which is introducing this product called the Gator Skin that is designed to reduce the concussions as opposed to just treat them after the fact. So Carter, where did this idea come from?

The precipice came with my brother. He unfortunately suffered a career ending concussion his junior year of college. He was playing in what was essentially their conference championship game and he suffered a hit to the head, on the side of his head actually, and he can't remember the game at all.

The only way of recalling that moment, and they won that game and clinched the championship, the only way of him recalling that is a photo he has of him celebrating with the rest of the team. He has no memory of any of those events and unfortunately, past just the normal symptoms of the concussion that a lot of people are aware, the headaches and the blurred vision, he had a significantly deeper effect to his body and it took him essentially up until a couple months ago, so almost two years, to just recover and get back to where he was before that hit. And there's still some things that are never going to go away from a health issues perspective and seeing him go through that was very, very difficult and really motivated me to just see if I could add something to concussions and see if I could address the issue in any new way. So I used some of the free time that I had to research concussions and came up with a flexible neck brace that turned into the gator skin after I did some workshops that I brought it to my dad, who's a very experienced entrepreneur and inventor, and we kind of workshopped it from there and eventually engaged a design firm to build a prototype and tested it and confirmed that it worked and that's kind of where we are now.

We built the company and we're getting things going. Definitely a family legacy and I'd love to ask you about that coming up, but I want to ask about the testing. What types of testing has it been through so that you can see the impact or I guess the way that it lessens impact? All the testing that we did thus far and this fall season with the start of our pilot program, we're actually getting the on-field data, but the testing that we have thus far is laboratory testing. If you can imagine, it's essentially like a crash test dummy head that you're hitting with a pendulum and you're measuring the accelerations with the linear, which is just a straight line, accelerations and the rotational accelerations of the head. There's so much research out there that has shown that these two acceleration values are the best predictors of your chances of suffering a concussion on any given hit. Most football helmets these days have built-in accelerometers so that you can measure those data from an actual in-game perspective and correlate it to who suffered from which types of hits and essentially mirror all of the different models that have been developed within this topic to the data that we collected hitting the gator skin versus not hitting the gator skin to show its ability to drastically reduce the risk of concussion.

Any pushback? Initially whenever we bring this up to people, there's a certain level of resistance to believe that it could be functional because there's so many other attempted products that don't do what they say that they do. But when we do show these people the data and all the research that we did, we have the in-depth discussions with them about how it functions and what our data is showing, that resistance goes away and it's been really wonderful to have those different experiences to be able to show people what the gator skin is capable of. Carter Hogg is with us here on After Hours. He's a football player at Johns Hopkins, a DB who obviously has to tackle a lot and feels that contact but also is an inventor of the gator skin which is designed to be able to protect athletes in full contact in extreme sports. It's not just for football then, right Carter? You're talking about an impact that can be felt elsewhere in the sports world. Yeah, so the gator skin is designed currently to function with any talented sporting system.

Football, hockey, lacrosse, even skiing, equestrian, anything that you can think of that has a helmet, you can wear a gator skin underneath it and it's going to drastically improve the performance of that helmet and reduce your risk of concussion. You mentioned your dad and reading about your grandfather too, how much did the family legacy of being a creator and inventor influence you in this process? It was really, really meaningful because ever since I was a little kid, seeing my dad invent so many different things, be it the credit card company which he founded, which has a couple of different things like the nameless gift card that's used today or QR codes that you're able to scan for payments that you might use at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. It really instilled in me a certain approach to trying to solve problems because instead of trying to build on existing solutions, it really ingrained in me and my brother the concept of bringing a white sheet approach and just starting from scratch and seeing if you can come at it from an angle of something that might not exist in any way in the world today and seeing if you can make that thing become a reality. What are you studying at Johns Hopkins? I'm studying economics and mathematics.

I think there's a lot of different skills that I can apply to many different facets of business and that's the reason why I chose those two majors. How in the world do you balance playing football, college football, which can be all consuming, with coming up with your own invention and testing it and having a board of advisors that works with you? Where in the world do you come up with the time, Carter?

I don't have a lot of free time, let's put it that way. What about the reaction just at Johns Hopkins from your own peers and your own teammates? Yeah, it's been amazing. My teammates have been so supportive and I really appreciate them for just the overwhelming support that they've shown and I can't ask for a better group of teammates.

Well now that you've gotten through the testing and you feel like there's been a positive reception, what is the next big hurdle for you? At this point it's just a matter of starting to get the gator skin on as many different people as possible, start increasing our sales and really let the gator skin go to work and start protecting people in all these different sports. What does it mean to you to have people like those that you've got on your board of advisors, people who are willing to work with you because they believe in you and believe in what you've created? Yeah, it's amazing and I think we're all working towards the common goal of just trying to do some really true good with this product.

It's something that obviously from a business perspective is wonderful but it has that secondary benefit of being able to help people and I think we're all just on board with trying to get that done and accomplish that goal. I'm not sure how much time you have to watch the NFL or even other college football but there was really no way that people could miss what happened with Tua Tango Veloa last year with the Dolphins and the multiple concussions and in one case being on national TV to the point where he is lying there prone on a field and his fingers are rigid and he can't open up his hands. It was jarring to see, it was obviously scary.

What's your reaction? It's truly sad because I know so many people personally that have gone through similar things and it's just robbing that player of the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability and to show the world their talents. I'm happy Tua is back on the field. He's playing really well this season. It's a terrible thing that unfortunately is pervasive currently.

It's something that doesn't just go away. You might be able to return to play but there's going to be lingering issues from that hit that will stay with you for the rest of your life and that's why preventing those concussions in the first place is so important. Why do you play football? I truly love the sport. I love the team.

Everything from the game itself and the schematics of it. I'm a little bit of a nerd when it comes to football. It's a great thing to go out and play and it's a nice level of physicality that you can't really get in any other way. There has certainly been more of a discussion at the youth level about football, playing football and the impact it can have on kiddos but not just that soccer too. We hear about extreme concussions at times in the game of soccer or you mentioned hockey. How often do you hear the conversation or maybe people talk about how they don't want their kids to play football or even young people who aren't willing to play football for that reason? I hear it all the time and I finished up my high school in Texas but for the most part I lived in New York and the amount of people within even my class that stopped playing after one season of football due to fear of injury and concussions being a major one of those, it was drastic to the point that the team was just declining in numbers year after year after year in New York. A lot of that's the players, a lot of that's the parents and that's one of our major goals is to instill those parents and those players with the confidence to be able to play sports that is so wonderful and gives you so many different life lessons and wonderful experiences. Not having the fear of that injury and knowing that you're protected to the best of your ability is something that we're really trying to stress. I love that your drive and your initiative comes from a love for family and a love for football as opposed to a desire to be an inventor like your dad or your grandfather or be rich with some incredible invention. Your passion comes from the two things that you love which I think is incredible. I really appreciate that. That's really what it's all about.

Carter Hogg, a 19-year-old college football player at Johns Hopkins, a defensive back who in his spare time when he's not pursuing his degree is not only developed but is now promoting what's called gator skin, a shell that's used under helmets to protect athletes in full contact and extreme sports. It's great to connect with you. Thank you so much for a couple of minutes. I'd love to reach out again as you get your breakthroughs and see how it's going. That would be wonderful. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak with you.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-30 09:24:52 / 2023-09-30 09:32:47 / 8

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