QB investments could improve helmet safety

ATLANTA – Football helmets could receive another boost to improve security features with announcements from two of the major manufacturers on Friday.

Riddell has partnered with Carbon, a technology company that features 3D printing, to bring innovation and personalization of digital design to Head Protection through its new diamond helmets. And VICIS is expanding its $ 30 million fundraising program, adding more investments from quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith.

The new Riddell helmets include a 3D printed liner inside the helmet. Initially available on the Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond model, the process allows Riddell to scan an athlete's head and shape the helmet. The hulls will be composed of more than 140,000 individual struts that absorb the forces of linear and rotational impacts. Using its database of more than 5 million impacts, Riddell can customize the tuning of these props to adjust the structures of the helmet. That could be key to creating specific position helmets, something the NFL believes is coming.

"We work very closely with grassroots and NFL programs and mainstream college football to understand the needs of customers and all the constituents that interact with the helmet," said Thad Ide, senior vice president of research and development at Riddell products. "We have our innovation roadmap that has led to intelligent technology and developments, our helmet line has grown over the years … I could see in the next two or three years having these [for specific positions] with instrumentation in them It's going to be hard to make a helmet that does not have this technology. "


The SpeedFlex helmet is made for elite athletes and costs $ 1,750. The SpeedFlex Precision Diamond will sell for approximately the same price.


VICIS did not release the funding amount approved by the two star quarterbacks, Rodgers and Smith, through Rx3 Ventures. The additional funding will help VICIS meet the demands of its ZERO1 YOUTH football helmet, the youth version of its ZERO1 that ranked at the top of the NFL's helmet classifications in 2018.

"Smith said." Help to innovators like VICIS, it allows me to give back the sport I love in a way that will make a difference for the next generation of athletes. "

ZERO1 YOUTH is the first football helmet designed specifically for young players and impacts. the field.

"We developed our protective technologies by working closely with experts in the field, such as NFL players, team managers and medical personnel," said Dave Marver, CEO and co-founder of VICIS. "We are pleased with this investment. Alex and Aaron, and even more proud that our new youth helmet is in such demand. "

Lawyers representing former NFL players have estimated that The concussion agreement payments with the league, once The agreement, which went into effect in January 2017, settled thousands of lawsuits that accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the risks of repeated concussions.

The NFL will once again test its year helmets, with potentially nine or 10 new models available. That shows the dynamic movement in the helmet industry, and NFL's executive vice president of health and safety, Jeff Miller, welcomes all the improvements that benefit safety.

"It's an important component, like seeing different hull casings and interior layers and new material and a replacement for the foam," Miller said. "There's a good amount of new ideas and innovations in the hull lining. So, the fact that Riddell is working on that part of an already successful helmet to make it better for the players is an important aspect of how helmets can be increasingly protective. "


Ide emphasizes that there is more to the player's health and safety than helmets, and that continuous diligence is essential.

"Helmets are a piece of the puzzle," said Ide. "Medical care, training, rule changes, better protective equipment: there are many things that contribute to making the game safer."


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