Seattle, WA (AP/CBS) –The creators of one of the most technologically advanced football helmets currently available on the market was awarded a contract from the U.S. Army on Tuesday according to a press release. VICIS, Inc., makers of the VICIS Zero-1 helmet, have been contracted by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to try and improve the safety of Army and Marine Corps combat helmets. According to the release, VICIS will research ways to replace the helmets’ current foam liner pads with its own technology used in helmets like the Zero-1. From the release:
“The NSRDEC is excited to work with VICIS in the development of their suspension pad system for use in military combat helmets,” said Benjamin Fasel, a mechanical engineer at the NSRDEC and the effort’s Project Manager. “VICIS has demonstrated great results in their football helmets, and we look forward to continuing those types of results with the unique blunt impact requirements of combat helmets.”
The current version of the Army and Marine Corps combat helmets are largely designed for protection from ballistics like gunfire or shrapnel. With VICIS coming aboard, it seems there will be an added focus on improving the helmets’ protection for soldiers from blunt force trauma. The release cites a statistic from a 2013 Congressional Research Service report that states “approximately 80 percent of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. military results from blunt impact not on the battlefield, but in training and other non-deployed settings.”
According to Business Insider, 60 NFL players and 20 collegiate athletes used VICIS’ Zero-1 helmet during the 2017 football season. This upcoming year, the University of Notre Dame is expected to provide the helmets to the entirety of their football team.