Way to Go Science!
Per the NFL Network, a new helmet, specifically designed to offer greater protection for quarterback’s head-to-ground impacts, will be available for the first time to NFL players this season. According to the NFL, helmet-to-ground impacts are more common for quarterbacks; “The thing that distinguishes quarterbacks and their concussions is they have a disproportionate number of head-to-ground impacts that cause concussions,” said Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications, public affairs, and policy. “This past year, we had an increase in the number of quarterback concussions, and it was the same helmet-to-ground dynamic. Many people would say it’s because quarterbacks are scrambling more often, but we didn’t see that. It was still the quarterback in the pocket, getting hit and the head hitting the ground as they were holding onto the ball.”
The NFL said helmet-to-ground impact accounts for about half of quarterback in-game concussions and, according to Dr. Ann Bailey Good, a mechanical engineer for Biocore, which conducts the lab tests, the new quarterback helmet did 7% better at reducing impact severity compared with the most popular helmet worn by quarterbacks last season.
The helmet is manufactured by VICIS, and is the first helmet designed specifically for quarterbacks. The helmet’s release comes just months after the end of the 2022 season, which saw the number of diagnosed concussions rise by 18% league-wide, with much of the rise attributed to a spike in concussions suffered by quarterbacks. The Zero2 Matrix QB helmet has already undergone lab testing that simulated concussion-causing impacts sustained by quarterbacks, the league told teams in a memo.
The new QB protection helmet is based on their Matrix System: a microfilament structure which is a replacement to the DLTA fit system for the MATRIX helmet.
Per VICIS, “MATRIX provides ultimate flexibility in the fitting process without having to wait for a custom-manufactured helmet. By providing multiple unique fit contours per location and adjustable comfort top layers, the MATRIX pods are ready for gameplay out of the box. In addition, this allows for immediate fit feedback from players that can be adjusted at any time.”
“Similar to DLTA pods, MATRIX pods deliver customized comfort and a secure fit without air bladders. This is accomplished by unique biofidelic contoured pads which elevates the locked-in fit of the ZERO2 MATRIX.”
The United Brain Association supports the implementation of this technology across the NFL and into other arenas where protective headgear has already been mandated. We also wish healthy and successful seasons to all athletes in all sports.
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