Sun | Dec 15, 2019

NFL helmet safety raised at symposium

Published:Friday | November 15, 2019 | 12:12 AM
Green Bay Packers’ Ibraheim Campbell (right) forces a fumble by Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, leading to a clash of heads, during the second half of an NFL game in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers’ Ibraheim Campbell (right) forces a fumble by Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, leading to a clash of heads, during the second half of an NFL game in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP):

The National Football League’s (NFL) efforts to address concerns over brain injuries and other player safety issues continue with a symposium in Ohio aimed at developing a safer helmet for NFL players.

The Warren Tribune Chronicle says NFL safety officials, scientists, engineers and helmet manufacturers are meeting at the three-day symposium in Youngstown to stimulate development of a safer helmet for league players as part of the Helmet Challenge launched by the NFL.

The league is partnering with America Makes, a national ­accelerator for 3-D printing and additive manufacturing based in Youngstown, to put on the event that started Wednesday.

Ashley Totin, a project engineer with America Makes, says ­attendees are working to “perfect the helmet”.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice-­president for health and safety innovation, added that the work to improve player safety is not just about helmets.

He said equipment, rules of the game and practices have all changed substantially, and “those are all three levers we have been working with to improve the health and safety of the sport as it relates to concussions”.

Up to US$3 million (roughly J$423 million) will be available in the challenge, including US$2 ­million (about J$282 million) in grant funding to support the development of a helmet prototype, and a US$1-million (around J$141-million) award. The ­challenge will culminate in May 2021 with applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL.

Miller said the result could be position-specific helmets to address varying injury risks – such as concussions faced by a quarterback versus a linebacker.

The challenge is another step in the NFL’s engineering road map, an effort aimed to improve the under­standing of football biomechanics and to create ­incentives for businesses, innovators and helmet ­makers to develop safer ­protective equipment.