SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Bryson Thompson, son of Cal Poly assistant head football coach Aristotle Thompson and his wife, Sarah, was the subject of a feature story on NFL Network prior to the trio of Thanksgiving Day National Football League games Thursday.
Narrated by Jane Slater, the story chronicles Bryson's three-year battle with epileptic seizures. He wears a helmet for safety reasons and, with his older brother, Brock, launched Helmets4Helmets, a fund-raising effort to provide helmets for other youngsters with epilepsy.
The segment was filmed in early October at various locations, including the Thompson home in San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly's Alex G. Spanos Stadium and in Metairie, Louisiana, at the New Orleans Saints practice facility.
The feature, titled "Helmets4Helmets," will be replayed on NFL Network's NFL 360 on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m. Pacific.
The original auction resulted in seven donations sold at the buy-now price and Bryson and Brock have raised well over $25,000.
"In addition, thousands of dollars has been raised in straight donations," Sarah Thompson added. "We have also had people reach out to us that want to have wedding guests donate to us instead of buying them presents as well as people who want to donate items. We are also seeing an increase in families asking for help in purchasing their child a helmet. We also heard this morning from a company in Denmark that makes epilepsy helmets that want to help us."
All of the items have been donated by professional athletes who wanted to support the cause launched by Bryson, 7, and Brock, 9. They include signed helmets from Russell Wilson, Joe Namath, Tom Brady, Odell Beckham, Bo Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Marshawn Lynch, Drew Brees and Derek Carr along with Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Rob Gronkowski and Peyton Manning jerseys.
Other donated items include autographed Joe Namath, Dan Marino and JJ Watt footballs, basketballs signed by the entire Golden State Warriors team, Kobe Bryant and James Harden and a Brandon Belt batting helmet.
The brothers and their parents have appeared on The View, a US/Canada special aired prime time on ABC, and on KATU-TV in Portland, Oregon.