Tag Archives: helmet

Technology Preventing Brain Injury Inspired by Woodpeckers

By Brooks Schuelke of Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC

It is difficult to imagine that a bird and a football player have much in common, but they do, and the lowly woodpecker just may hold the key to making safer football helmets.

The history of football is rife with attempts to make a better helmet for players to prevent skull fractures. While the technology does exist to prevent or diminish skull fractures, there is little to no protection from brain injuries. This is where the woodpeckers come into play.

Dr. Gregory Myer, is the director of research and the human performance lab at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine division. Myer was contacted by Xennovate Medical’s CEO, David Smith, who was enthused about the possibilities of a possible breakthrough in brain injury care. The idea proposed came about as a result of studying woodpeckers.

Smith explained to Myer that woodpeckers prevent concussions by wrapping their tongues around their jugular veins to increase blood flow to the brain. This keeps the brain from moving about inside the skull while the bird hammers on wood. Myer understood that since the bird could not protect its head from the outside, the adaptation of winding its tongue around its jugular would prevent brain injuries. Mayer began research on the “Q Collar,” also known as the Neuroshield, which is designed to be worn around the neck and increase blood flow to human brains.

The initial prototype Neuroshield performed well in field tests with high school football teams, soccer teams and a SWAT team. The promising results may give the Neuroshield a chance that it could be pressed into service for the U.S. military. Although there is still more research to conduct, if the theory behind preventing brain trauma is correct, the collar may become an integral part of daily life and even be used while riding a bike or motorcycle. It is anticipated that the collar manufacturer, the Performance Sports Group, may put the product on the market by 2018.

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LAX Helmet Manufacturer Says It ‘Raises Bar on Protection’ with New Helmet

Cascade Lacrosse, which bills itself as “the leading helmet manufacturer in lacrosse,” today launched a new premium helmet, the S. Designed and manufactured in the United States, the new S represents “the pinnacle of protection,” among other things.

The S, which sells for $289, incorporates several “new, game-changing helmet technologies, including a new tri-liner integrated with the shell,” according to the company.

Specifically, the company notes the “protection” aspect – “Three different liner technologies unite to optimally address variable force impacts. This tri-liner system integrates perfectly with the SuperMono S shell to create the ideal protection package.”

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Breaking News: NFL Announces Winners of First HeadHealthTECH Challenge

The National Football League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) today announced the winners of HeadHealthTECH Challenge I and launched HeadHealthTECH Challenge II, which “invites proposals for improvements in football protective equipment including helmets and related technologies, turf systems, shoulder and other pads, and additional innovative concepts.”

The HeadHealthTECH Challenge series is one component of the Play Smart. Play Safe. Engineering Roadmap—a $60-million comprehensive plan funded by the NFL and managed by FRI “to create incentives for sporting goods companies, as well as other manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities from around the world to develop improved helmets and protective equipment in the next three to five years.” Launched in November 2016, the TECH Challenge series is operated and managed on behalf of FRI by Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI).

“Our collective goal is to spur next-generation solutions in protective equipment,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives. “Not only do these grants advance promising technologies, but FRI’s expert partners at Duke CTSI provide valuable feedback and mentorship to all companies that submit proposals. We want to encourage and support new and innovative ideas that will improve sports safety.”

“The TECH Challenge series is designed to bridge the gap between the engineering and medical experts and the marketplace, and to direct funding where we can create value,” said BARRY MYERS, MD, PhD, MBA, Director of Innovation Duke CTSI, Coulter Program Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and a consultant to the NFLPA. “If you’re an innovator, we want you to apply. We want to hear what your product is, what your vision is and how we can help you succeed.”

FRI awards “the most promising TECH Challenge proposals with a cumulative value of up to $1 million a year, including in-kind support. For TECH Challenge I, a panel of expert judges selected by Duke CTSI, in collaboration with FRI, reviewed and provided feedback on 50 proposals all focused on improved protective equipment. Every TECH Challenge applicant receives constructive feedback to help refine innovations and increase chances for success on future submissions and is invited to reapply.”

TECH Challenge I Winners:

  • VyaTek Sports received a grant of $190,000 to support development and testing of its Zorbz technology, a series of highly efficient energy-absorbing modules added to a helmet system that can be removed and replaced after a significant impact.
  • Guardian Innovations received a grant of $20,000 to support biomechanical testing of its Guardian Cap technology. The Guardian Cap is a decoupled, soft helmet cover designed to augment football helmets and reduce the severity of impacts.

Information about TECH Challenges and the process for making a submission can be found at: www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com/HeadHealthTECH

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