By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
An Indiana football family was dealt a setback when a junior high athlete suffered a head injury after falling off a golf cart, effectively ending his playing career. The way in which the father and son responded to that setback impacted the sport of football forever.
Steve Parks had every intention of making a huge impact on the football field when he suffered a head injury in 2002 that prevented him from playing contact sports for the remainder of his athletic career. He was just starting junior high, and as the son of a former football player, his dream was to make his mark on the game.
Although he was never able to play the sport he grew up loving, his impact on the sport over the last 18 years has been immeasurable.
After the injury, which occurred when Steve fell off the back of a golf cart, he volunteered as a team manager of the local high school team. His father, Greg, saw him struggling to move the cart filled with water jugs to and from practice and decided there had to be a better way. Even at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, Steve struggled with the clunky design of the standard water carts.
With the help of his son, Greg designed the first prototype out of a barrel cart and lawnmower wheels. Many revisions later, they developed the first hydration cart under the Wheelin’ Water brand.
Over the years, the Parks shifted the model from heavy, steel frames with wood handles to aluminum, stainless, food-grade components. The father and son were motivated to provide the safest, most efficient model for trainers, coaches and athletes so that they could perform the all-important task of hydrating during training and competitions.
Eventually, the Parks created several different models to benefit teams of all sizes. The 65-gallon trailer served as a one-stop shop for coaches and players to hydrate for entire practices or games.
“The next move was to make carts that were smaller in size and volume of water, but safe and dependable, for programs with lesser needs,” Greg Parks said. “These grew out of trainers that needed special requirements for their athletes but didn’t have the need for large volumes of water and had to work on smaller budgets.”
The Parks eventually offered systems ranging from 12 to 100 gallons. Accessories included insulated covers, ice funnels, water filters and hitch assemblies, which continue to help teams optimize the benefits of the carts.
“Today we build the best hydration carts in the world,” Greg Parks said. “My son Steve takes great pride in being a part of developing and building a quality product that we stand behind 100 percent. I’m glad he’s on my team.”
The Wheelin’ Water Guarantee
We are dedicated to provide the safest, most user-friendly, top-quality, best-built, hydration carts in the world and make them available at an affordable price.
Proper hydration, without sacrificing the safety and healthy well-being of athletes, is what we are about.
Utilizing the time and efforts of trainers, coaches and players to get maximum performance is what makes a winning program.