Riddell’s helmets have taken a beating over the past couple years, and not just in the literal sense. Riddell has been implicated in every huge football-related concussion lawsuit in recent history, and they have lost at least one legal battle addressing their concussion prevention claims on their own. Those exact claims that Riddell’s helmets can prevent concussions also drew a large number of detractors who felt the company was being dishonest.
Now, Mohamed Elawad reports the biggest manufacturer of helmets in the United States has made their first big product release since these woes have begun, and they hope to better protect players while also improving their own PR at the same time. But, the product isn’t a helmet. Instead, it is a new system designed to monitor impacts and alert coaches or team healthcare staff of any impacts that may have caused a concussion as they happen.
Similar to the popular CheckLight cap made by Reebok and MC10, Riddell’s Head Impact Telemetry System and Sideline Response Technologies (catchy name) uses a set of sensors attached to the inside of a player’s helmet to identify impacts which may have been hard enough to cause a player to suffer a brain injury. When one of these impacts occur, the Alert Monitor sends information to sideline staff where it can be compared to the Player Management Software which shows staff a player’s head health history.
The system goes a step further than the sensor caps that are beginning to gain traction in the market by including the system which allows real-time health history so that health staff and coaches can make informed decisions in the moment and better gauge a player’s brain health.
It is promising to see Riddell has stopped making concussion prevention claims (it should be noted, many of their competitors made the same types of claims). It is also encouraging that they have begun to invest their efforts into a realistic way to better manage concussions, rather than striving for the mythical helmet which will be able to actually prevent concussions.
While more data comes out regularly showing that no helmet is capable of fully preventing concussions, seeing a helmet maker turn their attention towards more realistic efforts which can hopefully better protect players shows that Riddell is truly trying to provide the best head protection possible, even if that means not being able to prevent injuries.