2017 NFL Season About To Start. Hope For A New Football Helmet To Prevent TBI

Football is a game of inches, and none is more important than the inch and a half between the outside shell of a helmet and a player’s skull. Since the 1940s, when hard plastic helmets began to replace leather ones, the primary purpose of the helmet has been to guard against skull fractures and hematomas (bleeding on the brain)—catastrophic injuries that led to deaths on the football field in the early 1900s. In recent years, however, scientific studies have led to a better understanding of the short- and long-term consequences of blows to the head. * In 2015, the number of diagnosed concussions, in both preseason and regular-season practices and games, totaled 271. And the number diagnosed in regular-season games (182) was up 58 percent from 2014—and 18% over the four-year average. They all realized the issue of head trauma was not going away, and they wondered: What more could be done with helmets? * Though the medical community understands the nature of concussions better than ever, the injury remains something of a riddle for doctors and scientists, because it presents in different ways for different people. One long-held theory was that the brain sloshes back and forth during a collision, striking the rough inner surface of the skull and rebounding against the opposite side—a violent act that causes bruising and swelling. * VICIS’ design literally turns the traditional hard polycarbonate helmet that’s been used for decades inside out. A stiff plastic shell inside still protects against skull fractures, but it’s the first helmet to have an outside surface made of a flexible polymer that deforms locally upon impact, rather than making that familiar crack sound. The concept is the same as that of a bumper on a car: The material bends, thereby slowing down the impact and reducing the force transferred to the person inside, according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force=mass x acceleration). The outer and inner layers are connected by a matrix of columns that flex in all directions to absorb linear, and most importantly, rotational forces. (