An innovative new helmet design protects football players from the concussions that can lead to severe brain injuries.
That’s the hope of Stanford University scientists developing a prototype that should reduce the impact of hits to the head by one-third or more.
Their secret? A carbon-fiber football helmet with 21 liquid shock absorbers spread throughout.
“Most of the members of our team have a personal connection to traumatic brain injury and we care deeply about ensuring long-term athlete brain health,” Nicholas Cecchi, a PhD candidate at Stanford and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
“Concussion and repeated head impacts are still a major problem in contact sports,” Cecchi added, “and we believe that improved helmet technology can play an important role in reducing the risk of brain injury.”
Professional athletes are at risk of brain injuries from repeated blows to the head. These can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a severe condition that kills nerve cells in the brain.
CTE gets worse over time, according to the Mayo Clinic. The only way to diagnosis CTE is after death, when the brain is autopsied.
Former NFL cornerback Irv Cross, Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, NFL star Aaron Hernandez and several other athletes were diagnosed with CTE after their deaths.