VICIS, maker of the Zero1 football helmet, is partnering with the U.S. Army to research ways to reduce head injuries in the military through a development grant announced Tuesday.
The Seattle-based company will replace foam pads in existing Army and Marine Corps combat helmets with liner technology developed for its Zero1 football helmet, said VICIS CEO and co-founder Dave Marver.
“This aligns with our mission and it allows us to protect those who have signed up to protect us,” Marver told The Associated Press. “The technology remains in development, but it’s very promising, and we’re hopeful it will make a big difference in the lives of our servicemen and women.”
“The main thing is the current combat helmets are … not optimized for blunt impact protection and that’s what football helmets are designed to do, protect against blunt impact,” Marver said. “And so what we’re doing rather than working to replace the shell of the combat helmet, which is good at ballistic protection, we’re actually replacing the inner padding, which is currently just foam.”
Laboratory testing showed that the VICIS Zero 1 models of 2017 and 2018 rate best for player safety. Last month, the NFL for the first time banned a number of helmets that were deemed inferior to many of the 34 helmets the NFL and the players’ union examined.
In 2017, 75 players on 18 NFL teams used the helmet. About 200 players representing all 32 NFL teams are expected to use the lighter Zero1 this season, as are players from more than 80 colleges and 500 high schools, Marver said. Shouldn’t the NFL just have one helmet?