SBJ/April 3-9, 2017/Technology

Vicis’ ‘soft’ helmets will take the field for Spring League football, kicking off this week

The Spring League, an inaugural developmental football league starting this week, will become the first to outfit players in a “soft” helmet that received funding from the NFL.

The league, which features players including Greg Hardy, will have Vicis helmets on up to 40 skill players. Vicis received funding from the NFL/GE partnership to develop concussion prevention technologies.

“This was an ideal opportunity to get the helmet on NFL caliber players that are playing games in accordance with NFL rules, and are moving at an NFL pace and an NFL speed, five to six months before they [Vicis] start outfitting them on NFL players,” said Brian Woods, CEO of the Spring League. The league is somewhat akin to the NBA Summer League: It’s played in one location — in this case the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia — and players are not paid but rather receive the opportunity to play their way onto a big league roster.

The only reason that all the league players are not in Vicis helmets, Woods said, is that the company has not been able to produce enough.

CEO Dave Marver said the company is outfitting several NCAA teams for spring practice, and is getting the helmets to NFL teams while ramping up production.

“We have a lot of demand from NCAA and NFL teams for spring practices and [organized team activities], so we did not have sufficient production to outfit the entire Spring League this year,” Marver said. “Our capacity is ramping fast, though, and we’ll be at full production this summer.”

The idea behind the helmet is that it can absorb impact better because it is softer.

Other players in the Spring League will receive Riddell helmets. The cost of a Vicis helmet is $2,000, five times that of a Riddell helmet, Woods said. His league is not paying for the helmets, but it is covered under a sponsorship agreement with Vicis.


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