A new helmet specifically designed to help protect quarterbacks has been approved by the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
The NFLPA said the push to develop the Vicis Zero2 Matrix quarterback helmet was based on the fact that «half of all QB concussions occur when their helmets hit the ground.»
Although the helmet is expected to be available next season, signers will have the option of wearing the same helmet they wore in 2022.
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Testing showed the new Vicis Zero2 Matrix helmet «performed 7% better than the most popular helmet worn by quarterbacks last season,» according to a memo sent to team executives Thursday.
NFL data indicated that nearly half of quarterback concussions were the result of helmet impacts with the ground, including the one sustained by the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa last season.
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«We’ve discussed with our engineers and the Players Association over 1,000 on-field concussions, we have a pretty good database of how these injuries occur,» NFL executive Jeff Miller told the Associated Press of the incident. helmet against the ground. impacts
«This helmet performs better in lab tests than any helmet we’ve seen for those types of impacts.»
Jason Neubauer, an executive at Vicis, said the company began designing its Zero2 Matrix QB helmet in early 2022.
«The only thing is that it has a deformable outer shell, which means that when you get an impact anywhere on that helmet, it’s going to deform or basically dent in that place 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 can change unique locations to try to optimize impact mitigation in any one area.»
It’s unclear how many quarterbacks will switch to the new QB-specific helmet. The league and NFLPA share information from helmet studies with teams so players can make informed decisions about helmet selection.
The only other position-specific helmet already approved is the Vicis Zero2-R Trench for offensive and defensive linemen.
The memo sent to teams also includes the results of the 2023 helmet lab test study. Miller told the AP that seven helmets the league strongly recommended in 2020 have been downgraded to banned as a result of new testing.
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«That’s a great sign,» Miller said. «Hopefully, we can continue to encourage that, either with position-specific helmets designed for each position group or for a general all-purpose helmet, so we can say to players, ‘Work with us, be willing to change helmets. because it’s better and better products are coming online every year.'»
Associated Press contributed to this report.