Seattle company unveils new, possibly safer football helmet
SEATTLE — After two and a half years of hard work, the Seattle-based helmet company VICIS released its brand new football helmet this week that they believe could be the safest in the world.
VICIS started up with help from investors, doctors, the University of Washington, and different grants. Their grants included one from the NFL, as the league tries to reduce the number of concussions in the game.
The group created a four layer helmet. It has a semi-soft shell, an impact absorbing layer, an inner shell to prevent skull fractures, and a layer that helps improve the fit of the helmet.
“It’s been intense, but also a lot of fun,” co-founder Per Reinhall said. “We started a little bit more than two years ago from scratch and now we have our first prototype.”
Reinhall is the chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. He teamed up with Dr. Samuel Browd, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s.
“The helmet is there to protect the head, but if you look critically at the helmet the technology really hasn’t changed much in decades,” Dr. Browd said. “We compare our helmet against current helmets that are on the market and we’re finding that we’re seeing significant improvements in the force compared to the current helmets that are available today.”
Dr. Browd said he has helped hundreds of kids with concussions every single year. He wanted to do something to make helmets safer for athletes.
“The goal with any sport is to make it as safe as possible and that’s what we’ve been trying to do with the helmet technology is to reduce the risk of concussion,” Dr. Browd said. “We’ve taken a clear problem, we’ve taken the best minds in town, and come up with a spectacular solution.”
VICIS still needs the helmet to pass a final safety test, but if it does they hope to have it on NFL and college athletes as soon as the 2016 season.
If all goes well, it is their goal to have it available for athletes in every sport that requires a helmet.