The NFL is offering $10 million in incentives to find a safer helmet for players.
Having recently settled a concussion related lawsuit, the NFL is turning its attention to the future. The league launched its new incentive based program Wednesday. The hope is to find a safer helmet for players and increase player safety on the field.
Commissioner Roger Goodell announced during the Head Health Challenge the league will award prize money for the best innovations:
“We’re talking about using new products in ways they haven’t been used before to provide better protection”
The products the NFL is hoping to find are new materials that absorb shock better. These materials should be able to be placed in helmets without taking up space.
To help research the impact of hits, the NFL is planning to use a variety of sensors on players this season. The sensors, called accelerometers, fit into mouth guards, patches on player’s backs, and inside helmets.
While the road to safer helmets is a slow one, the NFL believes there will be a number of teams using sensors by mid-season. Similar sensors have been used in the high school and college ranks for years.
It’s unfortunate the NFL has waited so long to address the concussion issue around the league. Acting quicker may have prevented the early ends of young player’s careers like Jahvid Best. Most recently Kevin Kolb’s career has been brought into question after the Bills placed the QB on injured reserve.
In 2011 Kolb was traded by the Eagles to the Cardinals and signed a $64 million contract. He barely played and after a number of concussions was released. He signed with the Bills last offseason for a little over $1 million. Now his hopes of a career resurrection are slim to none.
What’s important is the NFL recognizes the importance of safer helmets. The problem is being addressed and with good luck should be solved fairly quickly.