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Concussions are a continued hot topic for the game of football. According to the NCAA, concussions make up 7.4% of all injuries to college football players. Vicis, a company based in Seattle, is attempting to combat concussions with a new helmet. The helmet, the Vicis Zero1, sizes perfectly to a player so that there is little room for movement during a collision.
This season, thanks to a generous donor, every player on the Washington Huskies will wear one. It’s fitting that the Huskies will be the first college program to utilize the helmets because the idea for them came from UW’s New Ventures Facility.
The helmet was developed by a team of engineers and neurosurgeons to make sure it was effective for play. The helmet uses a three-part system to ensure maximum safety. The first part is the “Lode Shell”—instead of a hard plastic shell like other helmets, this shell works like a car bumper by deforming on impact. The next part is the “Vicis RFLX,” which is a column structure that sits between the hardshell and the inner part of the helmet and moves in all directions when it is struck, absorbing the impact.
The shell and RFLX layer together to reduce impact forces, much like a car would in a crash. The third part is the fit. VICIS has developed its own fit system which measures both head length and circumference. After studying and measuring the heads of hundreds of current and former NFL players, the company has created 12 sizing combinations. With the fit comes the “FORM Liner,” which is the foam lining that conforms to the player’s head.
The only issue is the cost of the helmet. Vicis hasn’t had trouble getting the funds to create the helmet, as they have about $10 million dollars in investment for 2016. But the helmet itself is $1,500, which is very high compared to competitors like Riddell that sell helmets for $200 to $400.