Seattle-based startup Vicis has been working since 2013 on a new type of football helmet that's designed to yield on contact. The result is a thud sound, instead of the violent crack players and fans are used to hearing. The softer impact means less trauma to the head, and the theory is that this will reduce the likelihood of brain injuries or concussions.Outside of testing scenarios, Vicis's helmet, called the Zero1, has yet to make its way onto the heads of NFL players--but that's about to change. According to the company, 25 of the NFL's 32 teams have purchased stockpiles of the helmet from Vicis to distribute to their players during practices this spring.The Safety Equipment Institute certified that the helmet met the safety thresholds established by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), opening the door for its use in the NFL and NCAA. Last week, the NFL released the results of its annual lab tests that study which helmets best reduce the severity of impact to the head. Of the 33 helmets the NFL tested, the Zero1 finished first--beating out 23 helmets from Riddell and Schutt Sports, two companies that currently account for a combined 90 percent of all football helmet sales.Vicis was founded four years ago by neurosurgeon Sam Browd, engineering professor Per Reinhall, and Dave Marver, former CEO of the Cardiac Science Corporation. The goal: Make a helmet that could reduce football's high rates of concussions and head injuries."We've learned a lot about how we could make the helmet better and refine it," says Marver, Vicis's CEO. The Zero1 has a soft outer shell and a core layer consisting of a series of bendable columns. These "crumple zones," inspired by and named after the parts of a car meant to crush on impact to reduce the force of a crash, allow it to absorb some of the energy of a collision.This is the type of helmet I have been advocating for years although I'd like it to be able to be used less as weapon. At $1500 it will not kill budgets of professional teams but I wonder how they determine when the helmet needs to be replaced. Maybe the columns bend but are able to continue to function.
Not sure why my comments did not get added.
This is the type of helmet I have been advocating for years. At $1500 each the NFL can afford them but wonder how they will determine if they need to be replaced. The company does not have a lot of money for advertising and paid spokesmen the way most companies get word out but I think this helmet could make a difference.