Helmet safety has been a widespread issue throughout the league for many years. And with the unfortunate increase in concussions amongst the league’s signal callers, the NFL has long researched ways to reduce the number of tragic head injuries.
The NFL and the NFLPA announced on Thursday that there will now be a quarterback-specific helmet that will be available for the first time for the upcoming 2023-24 season. The helmet, manufactured by a company called Vicis, is designed to “reduce the severity” of the head injuries that occur when a quarterback’s helmet hits the ground.
Helmet-to-ground impacts account for approximately half of the quarterback concussions, similar to one that was suffered by Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa last season -- when his head slammed violently against the turf during a Thursday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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“Helmets customized to the unique experiences of a position group promote player safety,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President overseeing Player Health and Safety. “This is the next evolution in a rapidly advancing market for improved helmets. We’re proud to share the data necessary to design and build better equipment.”
Jason Neubauer, an executive for Vicis, said the company began designing its Zero2 Matrix QB helmet in early 2022.
“The unique thing is that it has a deformable outer shell, which means when you take an impact in any location on that helmet, it will deform or basically dent in that location to absorb the impact,” Neubauer said. “What that means for us, as designers or engineers, as we’re looking to optimize it for different types of impacts, we’re able to change unique locations to try to optimize the impact mitigation in any one area.”
It is not clear how many of the league's quarterbacks will choose to wear this newly approved helmet, but the information has been shared with teams in hopes of informed decisions.