It is called the “360″ and it has seen the field. In the National Championship Game, Oregon Duck running back LaMicheal James donned this for its debut. Brittany Sauser of Technology Review, published by MIT, wrote about the helmet today.
Riddell, the official equipment manufacturer of the NFL, has released a new type of helmet designed to help reduce concussions. The Riddell 360 reduces the force of impact to the front of a player’s head, where 70 percent of hits occur, says Thad Ide, Riddell’s senior vice president of research and development. Ide adds that 70 percent of concussions result from hits to the front of the helmet.
Riddell has gathered statistics on head injuries using its own HIT technology, a system that employs sensor-equipped helmets to measure the location, magnitude, and direction of hits experienced during a game or practice.
A lot has been made of the helmets being worn on the field, and they were tracked here on this blog. As the number one producer of helmets for the sport of football, Riddell is doing its best to bring to market the best possible solution. As we all know and the article states no helmet will prevent concussions from occurring;
Another major challenge in helmet design is protecting against rotational or angular accelerations, hits that cause a player’s head to rotate or spin slightly, which most often lead to concussions. Since 2007, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been funding studies, using the HIT system, to measure how this type of head impact causes injury. The HIT technology measures both rotational and linear acceleration of a player’s head. Linear acceleration is the result of a direct hit that causes a player’s head to move back and forth. The resulting reaction force is expressed in g-force (with one g being equal to the force of gravity). Research conducted by the NFL has determined that 98 g is the threshold for concussions.
I must say I am impressed with both the design, and technology included in this helmet. Currently at about $400 the helmet is costly, but providing the best features possible, the safety quotient may outweigh the cost for now. It also goes to show you that Riddell is committed to the process of technology in football.