As concussions continue to be a hot topic in sports, a group of three Brock students are working on raising awareness of the issue. Fourth year Sport Management students Ryan Sutton, Seth Mendelsohn and Tim Hart created Headsup, a company focused on bringing together people who have suffered or are currently suffering from concussions.
The trio formed Headsup fairly recently, with the idea first being brought up after Sutton had suffered his most recent concussion in 2016.
“We started planning a year or so prior to launch, but we never fully dove into the idea until September 2017,” said Sutton. “We had an idea and created a few simple plans but nothing concrete. Then at the beginning of September we created a business plan with the intent of starting up after its completion. After that, we began making shirt orders and drafting marketing plans. Everything was a work in progress and we just rolled with what we were dealt. We continue to learn everyday and progress the business, and the fun part is that we are fully in charge of how the business operates. We get to create the image, brand and depict how people view our brand.”
With the idea in place, the group looked to move forward with their business plan. The process of starting a business from the ground up can be a daunting challenge, but things have been going well for Headsup.
“It was steady process, and it felt like every week we’ve taken another step forward. We had help from BioLinc securing grant money, and we’ve also had help from some of our professors here at Brock,” added Hart.
With the help of BioLinc and others, the trio has continued to grow their brand. Recently, they partnered with the Canadian Concussion Centre in order to achieve their goal of concussion awareness and support concussion research.
“Partnering with the CCC was a huge honour for us. They were extremely kind and enthusiastic about what we at Headsup are trying to accomplish with them as our partner,” said Mendelsohn. He went on to add that, “Having them as our charity partner has turned Headsup from an idea to a movement. By donating 15 per cent of all of our proceeds to their research, there is a sense of pride that comes with each article of apparel we sell, or for each donation being made.”
In addition to their partnership with the Canadian Concussion Centre, Headsup has also been very visible at Brock. They offer customized intramural jerseys, set up tables to sell their merchandise around campus, and as they continue to grow it seems as though their name and logo continues to show up more often around campus.
Finding a balance between running Headsup, school and other commitments is something that took some time to get used to. However, the trio have made adjustments to make balancing everything a little bit easier.
“The cool thing about working with fellow SPMA students is that we have all had different experiences that taught us different skills within the industry,” said Mendelsohn. “A regular day in the life of a Headsup Co-Founder can be hectic. Each of us have part time jobs and class. Whenever we have free time away from work or class we work on our business. We all probably spend about 2 hours a day at the very least working on the
business whether it be sending emails, working on our website, or processing sales and creating new business ideas. We have now gotten in the routine of meeting twice weekly for several hours at a time,” added Sutton.
The growth of Headsup has been rapid, but they have no plans to slow down any time soon. In fact, Sutton, Mendelsohn and Hart expect things to get even busier in the future.
“Our goal by the end of the year is to raise $10,000 towards the Canadian Concussion Centre’s research on preventing concussions. After that our mission is to get Headsup into Universities and Colleges all over Canada to spread awareness on concussions,” said Mendelsohn.
Despite their time at Brock coming to an end this spring, the three founders of Headsup do not see an end in sight.
“We want Headsup to become a platform for anyone suffering from or have had previous experience with traumatic brain injuries,” said Mendelsohn.
To learn more about Headsup or to get your own Headsup apparel, visit their website at https://www.headsupcan.ca/