Riddell’s Newest Helmet

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.


15 thoughts on “Riddell’s Newest Helmet

  1. Bob Cassano January 28, 2011 / 13:09

    I have wondered if padding the outside of helmets would be helpful in absorbing and dispersing the energy in helmet to helmet contact that occurs in tackling and blocking. Like they say about jumping off a building – it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop. When a stuntman jumps into an airbag the decelleration period is lengthened. It seems to me that two padded surfaces striking eachother may slow down the instantaneous decelleration that occurs when two solid surfaces strike against eachother.

    I know I’ve seen a couple of NFL players that wore foam shells over their helmets. I don’t recall his name, but a player for the Bills in the 90’s is the last one I remember. I always assumed it was because he had concussion issues. It also seems like it might help reduce some bone and soft tissue injuries.

    Do you know if anything like that has been studied?

    • G. Malcolm Brown May 25, 2013 / 11:18

      Now ,,you are on the right track…
      The problem with the helmet is it causes the hit…
      How many “STARS’ will a player see when hit by this new Riddell..?

      Keep thinking reduction of impact…!

      G. Malcolm Brown

  2. Ven Griva January 28, 2011 / 15:08

    My son played freshman football at a public school in a wealthy school district. His team had expensive, state-of-the-art helmets. But this season I noticed that freshmen teams from less-affluent parts of San Diego County appeared to have less-expensive and older helmets. When I was working for a newspaper in Texas, our sports editor caught holy hell for writing a column that this was a safety issue and that the kids from less-affluent schools were at a greater risk of receving a head injury. To this day I believe cash-strapped school districts have no choice but to buy helmets of lesser value, which puts their players are greater risk.

  3. Michael Hopper January 29, 2011 / 00:11

    Bob, there is a helmet out there called the “Gladiator” that attempts to add padding to the outside of the helmet. I stumbled upon it yesterday after reading this article and doing some research. It is funky looking. Also, you can find a picture of at least one player wearing the padded hat on the outside of the helmet through a Google Images search..

    Ven, while I definitely see your point, I think right now it’s hard to definitively say that it is the case. We have no way to prove that a particular helmet (however cheap or expensive) protects against concussions any greater or worse than another. Simply NOCSAE who certifies all football helmets does not have a test for that. The standard is to simply protect against a skull fracture. At this time it appears those standards are outdated and I believe it was reported awhile back that they are in the process of re-evaluating those standards. I graduated from high school in 2007 and I wore the “basic” Riddell or Schutt helmet (don’t remember). I had teammates who had the Revolution and I had teammates who had the Schutt DNA. Our school now has at least one of the Revolution IQ helmets and a Revo Speed helmet. They’re all good helmets and if I could, I’d have every single player in a Revolution or a Schutt DNA. Unfortunately $400 a pop makes that undoable at this time. As an athletic trainer, am I concerned that my players wearing a “basic” helmet are at a greater risk? No, because again all of these helmets meet the required standards and that’s what we know at this time.

  4. Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP May 8, 2011 / 08:48

    I had heard at a talk by Dr. Robert Cantu (concussion expert in the Boston area) that some of the new helmets would be using “airbag technology” to help the force be distrubuted better. Air bags seem to work fairly well. This technology seems a bit different but I applaud Riddell’s efforts to help athletes reduce their chances of concussion!

    • Dustin Fink May 8, 2011 / 13:04

      Xenith is using this “technology” and has been for some time…

  5. Cassandra Jetter-Ivey August 23, 2011 / 13:38

    Well, I purchased the 360 helmet for my son and it took us about 3 weeks to receive the helmet, but it was worth the wait!!!! My son loves it and I even tried it on, it is too comfortable!!! Kudos Riddell!!

  6. d2euce November 3, 2011 / 10:10

    @TheConcussionBlog”I must say I am impressed with both the design, and technology included in this helmet” ..How is this helmet “new”? What specific technology are you talking about? not sure what is meant here when the padding inside (foam,vinyal nitrate) is helmet is not different than the VSR-4 (which is no longer being produced) the Revo, Revo iQ, and Speed? Also, what the deal with the ridges on this helmet…was it designed to do best on these recent tests that have come under much scrunity? What is the difference between this “new” Riddell helmet and the Speed?

  7. Ronald D Boyle November 27, 2011 / 19:31

    Stop this please, no helmet as currently designed can offer any true protection against a concussion in football. Parents are being mislead. The speed and forces are simply too much for current designs. Anytime you hear different, … please, It’s called marketing.

    Ask a professional, …not a player, ask a Scientist. I’ve even heard doctors talking this nonsense. No wonder we have so many concussions, we say put this helmet on, now max acceleration,…using it as a ram and,….900 lbs of angular force acceleration/deceleration – felt right to the base of the brain in many cases. PS That’s as much or more than a heavyweight punch to the jaw. Sorry folks, physics,… it’s the law.

    BTW airbags save lives, they do not prevent concussions – in fact, concussions are common in significant collisions with airbag deployments – however, the good news is, you may be alive etc.

    • G. Malcolm Brown May 25, 2013 / 11:54


      Thanks,,you are right…!

      The hardest.body to body hits are 9 – 10 G s…but when helmets bounce off each other …another story ..!

      A slight change on the inside of these helmets.. is a continued attempt to save a failed design ..

      Keep thinking…,

      G. Malcolm Brown

  8. Gary Davis December 6, 2011 / 15:55

    Since the instituion of football is not REALLY addressing the problem, Riddell, the NFL, the schools, coaches etc should be sued for every concussion on the field. The right equipment could significantly stop this problem, but it doesn’t look as cool. So that is the reason for the pushback and resistence. $400 a pop is nothing.

    • David Stryker March 1, 2012 / 11:06

      I’ve played football for nearly 30 years and still play semi-pro in the summer. I am college educated (electromechanical engineering) and I feel this helmet is a great advanced helmet. I remember the days of sitting down with a knife and soldering iron shaping the foam liner to your head, trying to get a rock solid fit (little did we know we were helping concussions by doing that). I remember the pro air and how awesome we thought that air filled halo was. Today’s helmets are unreal compared to those. I have worn DNA’s, 4D’s, Revo’s, Speed’s, the Zenith and now, my current 360. Hands down, 360 is awesome. All of the current helemts do protect much better and help give you the confidence to perform better. As for exterior padded helmets, I had a cover when I was younger for part of a season. I found that the soft shell turns your head into a hit, twisting your neck. I think a hard shell is much better to cause a glancing blow and not allow for the snagging motion the liner creates. This isn’t marketing, I know these newer helmets are offering much better protection.

  9. Scott brady September 17, 2012 / 08:14

    I would like to see some one set up a place for reporting on concussion from schools etc. my son is a sophomore at a school woth 5000 kids and a great football program. All the kids who have purchased 360 that have played, some in a game have gotten concussions. Also 3 kids on the freshment team, about half of the kids that have 360 have gotten concussions while using the 360. About 30 helmets, of course the other half have not played in a game. There about 300 kids in the program. The standard helment is the older ridells, some parents got together and decide to buy on there own 360s for the own kids. About 30 were purchased and fitted under supervision of the school trainer. There is not data that demonstrates that them helments less the likelihood of concussion, best on our own data, the 360 increase the likelihood of a concussion.

    • Dustin Fink September 17, 2012 / 08:41


      Do you think this is because the kids believe that the new helmet will protect them? Thus, making them take bigger risks?

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