Football helmets have come a long way in protecting players’ heads from high-impact collisions. While the older leather models offered little in protecting a player’s noggin (let alone their face), the adoption of polymer-based designs you see today became a double-edged sword. Sure, that hard casing offered protection from skull fractures, but it also became a weapon for players who essentially turned their bodies into human missiles by recklessly launching themselves into the opposition.
And although current advances like the Vicis Zero1 helmet (a design mean to specifically guard against head trauma) and the Q-Collar (a device that increases blood flow to the brain to create an airbag effect) have helped, concussions remain endemic to the sport. A recent study revealed that 99 percent of recently deceased players suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease that stems from repeated blows to the head. The sport of football needs all help it can get if it wants to survive.
So joining in on the technological innovations to the sport is a company called Defend Your Head, which was founded by two former football players, John Roman and Glenn Tilley. Its helmet shell add-on, ProTech, is being adopted by amateur levels of football from youth squads to Division I NCAA football teams. Made with a polyurethane foam, the ProTech reduces the impact of helmet collisions through the absorption and dissipation of force impacted on the player’s dome (its outer shell design makes normal helmets appear a bit bulkier).
According to the company, the ProTech is in its in its third year of deployment at more than 100 colleges, high schools, and youth football programs. Defend Your Head also claims to be in talks with the NFL and helmet manufacturers about a widespread adoption.
“We’re so proud to have football programs of such high caliber believe in ProTech and invest in the safety of their student-athletes,” Defend Your Head CEO Glenn Tilley said in a statement. “We want football players at all levels to be as safe and successful as possible — not just on the field, but off the field in the classroom and workforce as well.”
The ProTech is available for $150 on the Defend Your Head website, and is compatible with most major helmet models.
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