Flexible NFL helmet aims to reduce head injuries

This specific company is actually turning football helmet design on its head

Head injuries have plagued the NFL for years. nevertheless the helmets which players wear have retained roughly the same design since the 1970s.

This specific season, about 70 NFL players are wearing a brand new helmet which’s a radical departure via previous iterations — along with also, the league believes, safer.

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the idea won’t be easy to spot when you’re watching games on Sunday. The Vicis Zero1 looks a lot like various other helmets. nevertheless the idea’s designed to soften the blows to the heads of NFL players.

The scientists, neurosurgeons along with also engineers who designed the helmet make clear which the idea won’t prevent concussions. No helmet will. Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, who wears the Vicis helmet, suffered a concussion during his team’s first game of the season.

nevertheless the NFL along with also the NFL Players Association spent the last few years testing dozens of helmet concepts which could help protect players. Out of all the designs, the Vicis ranked highest in safety.

the idea works by offering four layers of protection. An outer layer compresses to absorb shock along with also then rebounds, the way a tennis ball deforms when the idea hits a solid surface along with also then returns to shape.

Below which is actually a layer of polymer columns which move in different directions to absorb shock along with also reduce force. A hard inner shell helps prevent skull fractures along with also brain bleeds. along with also a layer of memory foam provides comfort.

which makes the Vicis helmet, which sells for $1,500, markedly different via various other helmets, most of which consist of just one layer of foam cushioning inside a hard plastic shell. various other versions tested alongside the Vicis by the NFL along with also NFLPA feature these outer shells along with also various levels of cushioning.

vicis helmet
A cross section of the VICIS helmet.

Related: The NFL is actually back. Are you?

About half of NFL teams placed orders for their players. (Individual players, not teams, decide which helmets to wear.) Players via the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs along with also Houston Texans are early adopters.

Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans along with also Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs will sport the brand new headgear This specific season. via the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman along with also Doug Baldwin, who is actually also an investor inside the company, will wear the idea, too.

“You don’t feel the thuds as hard as they normally are,” said Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, who is actually wearing the Vicis.

Chiefs center Mitch Morse said he’s “always looking to be progressive, especially regarding brain function along with also health, so for me, the idea was a pretty easy switch to make.”

Related: CTE found in 99% of studied brains via deceased NFL players

The NFL along with also the broader sport have faced intense scrutiny over concussions.

Medical experts, players along with also parents are concerned which repeated concussions increase the risk of a degenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

A recent study published inside the Journal of the American Medical Association found CTE in 99% of the brains of deceased NFL players donated to scientific research.

The NFL has invested in preventing, diagnosing along with also treating head injuries. Last year the idea announced a $100 million concussion initiative aimed at creating the game safer. The first $40 million was made available in August.

The league also launched the Head Health Challenge, a competition to encourage companies to study along with also develop products to improve player safety. Vicis was one of the winners along with also received a round of funding via the NFL. the idea has since raised $30 million on its own.

An NFL spokesperson told sy88pgw the league is actually “optimistic” which the Vicis helmet will be “the first of many novel developments as we continue to stimulate research along with also innovation.”

Related: Can This specific helmet make football safer?

In college football, players via Notre Dame, Middle Tennessee State along with also Michigan State plan to use the helmet This specific season.

The company also wants to sell the idea to children along with also high schoolers. the idea will be available online starting This specific fall. Vicis isn’t saying what the idea will charge, only which the helmet will be cheaper than $1,500. the idea also plans to offer discounts.

Vicis cofounder along with also pediatric neurosurgeon Sam Browd said he doesn’t want cost to keep any kid via using one.

“There’s certainly going to be communities out there where a helmet, no matter what cost point we come in at, is actually going to be maybe too expensive,” he said. “Whatever kids feel like they want to be in our helmet, along with also would certainly think our helmet’s safer, I’m going to make sure which they get the helmet.”

sy88pgw (brand new York) First published September 16, 2017: 10:23 AM ET

Flexible NFL helmet aims to reduce head injuries

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