NFL quarterbacks get redesigned helmets to lessen concussions

More football positions are expected to get their own helmets, the NFL said.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is examined on the field.
Posted at 11:58 AM, Apr 14, 2023

The NFL announcedthat quarterbacks will wear specialized helmets, saying the new headgear will better protect passers from head injuries. 

The announcement comes two years after the NFL implemented position-specific helmets for offensive and defensive linemen. 

The NFL said impact to the ground causes about half of all head injuries among quarterbacks. The new VICIS ZERO2 MATRIX QB helmet is said to perform 7% better in testing compared to the helmet most commonly used by quarterbacks last season.  

The NFL said position-specific helmets “take into account the unique locations and speeds of head impacts for each position group to offer players more customized protection.” The league said the new helmets designed for offensive and defensive linemen were among the highest-rated by players. 

“Helmets customized to the unique experiences of a position group promotes player safety,” said Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president overseeing player health and safety. “This is the next evolution in a rapidly advancing market for improved helmets. We’re proud to share the data necessary to design and build better equipment.”   

Helmets are designed to protect the skull from direct impact, but the design of helmets can cause the head to absorb much of the impact to a helmet, causing the brain to rattle and deform. This deformation causes concussions.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is attended to by medical staff.

Tua Tagovailoa's brain injury reignites NFL concussion safety debate

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The redesigned helmet comes after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury last season and was allowed to reenter the game despite displaying some head injury symptoms. Both the NFL and NFL Players Association released a statement saying, “The outcome in this case is not what was intended when the protocols were drafted.”

“The protocol exists to establish a high standard of concussion care for each player whereby every medical professional engages in a meaningful and rigorous examination of the player-patent,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement. “To that end, the parties remain committed to continuing to evaluate our protocol to ensure it reflects the intended conservative approach to evaluating player-patients for potential head injuries.”