Breakthrough Helmet Technology to Improve Football Player Safety

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New Riddell SpeedFlex, a new helmet that reduces impact force transfer to the athlete by selectively adding flexibility to key helmet components. (Image courtesy: Gizmag.com)

It’s that time of year again—football season! And as thousands of young players return to the gridiron, chances are parents are focusing a lot more on their children’s safety and the harms that can arise from concussions.

In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, doctors ranked football as the most dangerous youth sport in America because of the sport’s high concussion rate amongst children and adolescents.  Indeed, the past few years have witnessed an insurgence of attention to the potential neurological consequences of playing football.  In July, five former NFL players, including six-time Pro Bowl defensive end Neil Smith, sued the union for not providing accurate information about the risk of head injuries, and an estimated 2,000 professional players have filed grievances about long-term chronic injuries and intangible losses.

However, football is and will continue to be an American staple—even a right of passage for some teens.  So manufacturing companies have been enlisted to develop a new and improved football helmet that will decrease chances and effects of head trauma.  On August 28, 2014, the sports equipment giant Riddell announced the release of a new football helmet for pro and student-athletes.  The newly designed helmet, called SpeedFlex, marks the first significant overhaul of helmet designs in decades and is crafted to reduce the harm of head-to-head collisions, which are a hallmark of the sport and are the primary cause of catastrophic injuries.

The new helmets flex and absorb more energy in head impacts by incorporating the InSite Impact Response System—the company’s latest head impact monitoring technology. “The flexible portion of the shell, when it works in conjunction with the padding on the inside of the shell, can actually reduce forces more than if the shell were solid,” Thad Ide, Riddell’s senior vice president of research and product development, told ABC News. “Allowing the helmet to flex during impact could also reduce forces from frontal impact to the player’s head.”

News of the new helmet design provides a glimmer of hope for those of us who represent and work with victims of head and brain injuries.  The new product illustrates a movement towards player safety and protection that exceeds standard precautions.  School teams and club organizations are well aware of the risks associated with football and typically require parents to sign a mandatory consent waiver to allow their children to participate.  The forms protect the school and athletic league from “ordinary negligence,” which encompasses a wide variety of injuries that arise from the inherent risks of the sport.  That does not mean, however, that school, youth, or other organizations are entirely free of all liability.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, my team and I can help you. I am a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of experience in helping the injured, proudly serving the people of Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, and Okeechobee.  Call me for a free case analysis and evaluation.

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