NFL helmet safety challenge kicks-off with symposium in Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — The National Football League’s efforts to address concerns over brain injuries and other player safety issues continue with a symposium in Ohio aimed at developing a safer helmet for NFL players.

NFL safety officials, scientists, engineers and helmet manufacturers are meeting at the three-day symposium in Youngstown to stimulate development of a safer helmet for league players as part of the Helmet Challenge launched by the NFL, according to the Warren Tribune Chronicle.

The league is partnering with America Makes, a national accelerator for 3-D printing and additive manufacturing based in Youngstown, to put on the event that started Wednesday.

Attendees are working to "perfect the helmet,” according to Ashley Totin, a project engineer with America Makes.

Jeff Miller, the NFL’s executive vice president for health and safety innovation, added that the work to improve player safety is not just about helmets.

He said equipment, rules of the game and practices have all changed substantially, and “those are all three levers we have been working with to improve the health and safety of the sport as it relates to concussions.”

Up to $3 million will be available in the challenge, including $2 million in grant funding to support the development of a helmet prototype, and a $1 million award. The challenge will culminate in May 2021 with applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL.

Miller said the result could be position-specific helmets to address varying injury risks — such as concussions faced by a quarterback versus a linebacker.

The challenge is another step in the NFL’s Engineering Roadmap, an effort aimed to improve the understanding of football biomechanics and to create incentives for businesses, innovators and helmet makers to develop safer protective equipment.

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Information from: The Tribune Chronicle, http://www.tribtoday.com