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The Tech of Football - Gel Pack;
A look at new technologies of the game.

Over the past decade most football programs have focused on improving player safety in-regards to heat related injuries, but with heat stroke accounting for just under 3 deaths a year at all levels during that time, inventor Larry Wahl emphasizes that the biggest injury from the heat is “performance”.

Wahl, CEO & Founder of Gel Cool Systems, in Nashville, TN., makes the Gel Pack, a cooling aid that fits in between the existing pads of football helmets. Wahl, who was a linebacker for Kansas City football powerhouse Rockhurst and then was an equipment manger for a Division I football team, said that “teams run professional programs and are looking for professional results, but the cooling options aren’t there on a professional level.”

He added, “Looking on the Internet you’ll find rags or things you dip in water to keep a head cool under the helmet, but they are nowhere near a professional standard. They don’t fit right, the helmet can slide, they really needed something that fits properly”.

The Gel Pack, uses as a thermal distribution layer with a 3/8” cotton skull cap, to prevent a freezing effect, while the main cooling pack fits in the gaps between the existing padding of the helmets and transfers cold to the lining while transferring heat away from the head.

Wahl is well aware of the focus that has been put on “heat stoke” since the death of the Minnesota Vikings’ Corey Stringer, but says the real focus of the Gel Pack is to increase performance length during games & practice.

Gel Pack
An illustration of what the Gel Pack
will look like.

“A lot of people bring up the fact of heat related deaths and think that is the general purpose of the Gel Pack” Wahl said. While a side effect of the product could limit the possibility of heat stroke or other heat related illnesses, the main goal of the Gel Pack is to increase performance. It’s the day-to-day improvement on performance, where Wahl is looking to make a difference.

“Once you start to get hot, you get fatigued and your skills both mentally & physically… Your thinking gets fuzzy & you lose a step or two.” Wahl mentioned other equipment that focuses on the shoulders or neck for cooling, but sighted several issues from repeated collisions & physical reactions from extended contact to the neck. “The head which releases over 60% of the bodies heat was naturally the most logical area for a cooling systems according to Wahl.

Wahl said the Gel Pack could give 10-15 minutes of cooling depending on the field & body temperature. The packs are stored in a mobile sideline cooler with an individual slot for each Gel Pack for both cooling & hygiene reasons.

Gel Cool Systems is pushing hard to have the Gel Pack ready for use at the beginning of August, with a market geared towards the NFL & major college programs.

The current cost estimates of the product are about $40,000 per team. This includes a 110 volt mobile cooler and roughly 4 personally fitted Gel Packs per player, for roughly 55 players.

Wahl is hoping that the product will be a hit at those levels, enabling the company to offer the product to high schools at a discount. With a non-electrical supplied cooler and two Gel Packs per a player, he thinks the company can get the cost down to just over $120, or about a little less than a pair of new cleats, per player.

by Vincent D. Johnson

Find out more about Gel Cool Systems at





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