Thad Ide, who works at Riddell, is the lead producer in football helmet development. His new idea is to produce a helmet that can detect concussions. When players are injured on the field a coach or a trainer will take a visual assessment of the player and determine whether they are suitable to return to the field to play. This quick inspection, however, is not enough to get a true look at the extent of the damage a player may have.
This new technology will assess how hard the player has been hit and alert the player when their health is at risk. This has been a hot issue in the league for for the past few years and has caused serious concern among those whose family members play football. Oftentimes, after a football player will retire from the league, they will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. These players have gone on to sue the NFL as well as Ide who created the helmets because the league knew how serious their injuries were and still encouraged them to play.
The movement to improve the health and safety for the players on the field is an opportunity that was seen by companies such as Shockbox, Battle Sports’ Impact Indicator and Reebok’s Checklight. Ide has partnered with these businesses to place these devices inside the helmet. The SpeedFlex is the first helmet that Ide has created of its kind. On collision, the sensors inside of the helmet will let the coaches and trainers know if the player has a serious injury.
“It could help identify players that are striking their head too often. A lot of multiple-impact alerts probably means a player is using their head more than they should, and there’s probably an opportunity to coach them not to do that,” Ide said.
These helmets are set to launch this summer, just in time for the 2014 football season.