Bryson, a 6-year-old from San Luis Obispo, loves playing football, basketball and baseball. But the helmet he wears doesn't just protect him from tackles. It protects him from the seizures he's had for the past two years.
Now, Bryson and his 8-year-old brother, Brock, are asking NFL players to sign a helmet, jersey or football and send it in to be auctioned off for Jack's Helping Hand, the nonprofit that made sure Bryson got a proper-fitting helmet after his family's insurance company deemed it medically unnecessary.
The seizures began when Bryson was 4, and they haven't stopped since, according to his mother, Sarah Thompson.
"They (the seizures) were completely out of the blue and they're still figuring out how to control them," Thompson said.
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Just a few months after the seizures started, Bryson suffered a 15-minute-long grand mal, a kind of seizure that causes violent muscle contractions and a loss of consciousness, in the family's backyard. Brock was with him at the time.
"I really thought he was dead," Thompson said. "He was just face down, and it was terrible."
Two months after that, Bryson suffered 100 grand mal seizures in a 12-hour period. He was taken by ambulance from Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, which gave Bryson a helmet to wear to protect him from head injuries during his seizures.
By August 2017, about the time Bryson started kindergarten, his family realized he was outgrowing the helmet and needed a new one. Their insurance company turned them down, saying a new helmet wasn't medically necessary.
That's when Jack's Helping Hand stepped in and made sure the boy got a new helmet.
Since then, the family has been trying to think of ways to give back to the local nonprofit.
Then, in late February, the idea hit.
"We are in the football world," Thompson said. She's the daughter of Stan Brock, who played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers, and her husband is Aristotle Thompson, a Cal Poly football coach.
"We were blessed to be able to know a few people to get us started, and it just kind of snowballed," Thompson said.
Bryson and Brock have been on the front lines of the fundraising effort, recording a video to send to NFL players. The first helmet they got was from Derek Carr, the Oakland Raiders quarterback.
Since Bryson and Brock started the fundraiser in late February, the list of helmets they have either gotten or expect to receive has grown to about 25, Thompson said. Teams that have agreed to send helmets include the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Her sons want to extend the fundraiser to include professional baseball and basketball players.
"They're seeing what an ask can do, as far as trying to help somebody, and it's just broadening their mind," Thompson said.
The helmets will be auctioned off at the Jack's Helping Hand Annual BBQ in July, and the money will be used to support local families whose children have cancer, special needs and disabilities.
"It's amazing, every time I get to call Karen (Borges, the executive director of Jack's Helping Hand) and tell her we've got another helmet," Thompson said.
"They're just such a light in what can be a pretty dark area, dealing with insurance companies, and we wanted to find a way to give back to them somehow," Thompson said of the nonprofit.
Community members can support the fundraiser by making their own donations to Jack's Helping Hand. If local families have connections to the NFL, they can call Karen Borges at 805-547-1914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.