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Riddell urges players to switch helmet models

Patrick Peterson AP

Riddell, the company that makes most of the helmets worn in the NFL, is urging players to change helmet models after a study found that the model worn by 38 percent of players last season is not particularly good at preventing concussions.

Riddell’s VSR-4 helmet received a low one-star rating in a study of football helmets led by a Virginia Tech professor of biomedical engineering. But the Riddell Revolution Speed was the only helmet to get a five-stars rating.

“It is our hope that based upon this and other independent research, that players and teams at all levels will continue to migrate to the Revolution family of helmets,” Riddell Sports president Dan Arment said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press.

NFL players decide for themselves which brand and model of helmet to wear. A model designed by Adams USA that a handful of players wear received an even lower rating than the one-star helmet, with researchers labeling that helmet as “not recommended.”

“All of these helmets protect you from skull fracture, so what we’re doing is going to the next level and looking at how they protect you from brain injury,” said Stefan Duma, the professor who led the study. “We’re basing this analysis off a million impacts we’ve collected. We know how players are hit. . . . It’s much more elaborate than anyone’s ever looked at, in terms of evaluating the performance of helmets.”

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39 Responses to “Riddell urges players to switch helmet models”
  1. pkrjones says: May 10, 2011 7:57 AM

    The NFL fines players for violating uniform policy and wearing the wrong colored shoes, socks and/or headbands (for you McMahon fans)… why not BAN any helmet not receiving a 3 star or higher rating? The NFL has the power to make change, but will they?

  2. chapnastier says: May 10, 2011 8:00 AM

    Hmm kind of makes you not feel bad for players who get head injuries. Knowing full well that they can get helmets that are more protective yet choosing not to, kind of removes all of this “player safety” garbage that the players are crying about. The safety is there, they just choose not to use it (kind of like a simple mouth guard)

  3. zatko says: May 10, 2011 8:01 AM

    Darwin never seems to run out of award candidates.

    Mandate the Revolution, already NFL!

  4. catman72 says: May 10, 2011 8:06 AM

    So the goofiest looking helmet is the safest… great.

  5. istateyourname says: May 10, 2011 8:10 AM

    It is our hope that based upon this and other independent research, that players, except for Mendenhall, and teams at all levels will continue to migrate to the Revolution family of helmets,” Riddell Sports president Dan Arment said in a statement emailed to the Associated Press.

  6. cbusbrownie says: May 10, 2011 8:23 AM

    All lockout talk aside, without an answer to the concussion issue, the NFL is a “dead man walking”. Fix this Riddell, Va Tech or whom ever.

  7. garcia1234jc says: May 10, 2011 8:46 AM

    If the NFL is so concerned about player safety, make it mandatory for the players to “decide for themselves which brand and model of helmet to wear” so long as it receives more than three stars.

    By no means am I faulting the NFL for allowing those labeled as “not recommended”. The players themselves should be MORE concerned about their well-being than the NFL. I’m just saying that if the NFL is interested in protecting their (ahem) assets (i.e., players) then they should limit the options of headgear from which the players can choose.

  8. jw731 says: May 10, 2011 8:53 AM

    From their comments and actions during the labor impasse, it seems most of em wear “tin foil hats” anyway, so this could be a major step forward…

  9. matttaylor22 says: May 10, 2011 8:53 AM

    Dear Riddell,

    Your helmets suck. Worst helmet going. Try a Xenith on and see what’s good!!!

  10. djmail says: May 10, 2011 8:56 AM

    That 38% should not be eligible for retirement benefits unless they switch helmets. Players should not complain about safety if they are unwilling to take the steps that manufactures suggest.

  11. dexterismyhero says: May 10, 2011 8:58 AM

    Purchase some Riddell stock for all the new Helmet sales!!!!!

  12. trimgod69 says: May 10, 2011 9:05 AM

    why doesn’t riddell just quit making the lower rated helmets?………..duh !

  13. jimmyhaffa says: May 10, 2011 9:09 AM

    Instead of “urging” players, why don’t you discontinue making the crappy helmet if your so worried about NFL players safety?

  14. laxer37 says: May 10, 2011 9:18 AM

    So what you are saying is, now might be a good time to sell my stock in Adams football helmets.

  15. tednancy says: May 10, 2011 9:33 AM

    catman72 says: May 10, 2011 8:06 AM

    So the goofiest looking helmet is the safest… great.
    ==============================

    I agree. The Riddell Revolution makes players look like pee-wee players.

    Can’t we invent a 5-star helmet that doesn’t make the players look like absolute geeks?

    The NFL should ramp up its crackdown on helmet to helmet hits, and hopefully, players will continue to wear the VSR-4 and similar models.

    The Revolution helmet is the ugliest thing to happen to the sport. I wish it would go away. Players: you look like a dork with one of these things on.

  16. patsseasonticketholder says: May 10, 2011 9:33 AM

    Riddell know the helmet isn’t safe. If Riddel gave a sh*t they would discontinue the model. Let me know how that lawsuit is coming will ya?

  17. packnasty says: May 10, 2011 9:35 AM

    Please bring back the Mark Kelso/Don Beebe helmet!!!

  18. jskill3 says: May 10, 2011 10:01 AM

    Maybe the owners should step up and give all players “only” the best helmet available each year. Sure they cost a bit more. Let’s see: 2,000 players @ $100 extra per helmet is $200,000. That is about $6K per owner. Add a couple grand for the practice squad.

    Are these guys (players & owners) this incompetent to manage $9 Billion?? How about spending the first $100/per player on protecting their brains?

    Why is anyone discussing this – why isn’t it just done automatically?

  19. dietrich43 says: May 10, 2011 10:02 AM

    The NFL thinks it’s appropriate to fine a player because they wear the wrong socks, or the right ones too low, but don’t mandate that players wear the best safety equipment? Yeah, they’re real concerned about player safety and concussions.

  20. greenmeattruck says: May 10, 2011 10:03 AM

    Dear mr. goodell :
    Please stop fining and suspending players for perfectly clean hits on other players who are too dumb to wear the best possible protection.
    It seems obvious to all of us that not wearing mouthguards, leg pads and the best available helmets are to blame for alot of serious injuries, and that’s a choice that the injured player made before the game.

    Signed,
    NFL DEFENSES

  21. gregjennings85 says: May 10, 2011 10:26 AM

    I know you can no longer recite the ABCs, but man, that helmet looks downright terrific on you!

  22. jskill3 says: May 10, 2011 10:30 AM

    This discussion is too one sided. What about protecting the owners from brain degeneration?

    Al Davis, Jerry Jones, Bud Adams. Scary.

    In fact, can we get these guys to wear helmets when they go out in public? The ones with dark visors, so I can’t see into their eyes?

  23. MichaelEdits says: May 10, 2011 10:31 AM

    Leather helmets

  24. tombradyswig says: May 10, 2011 10:32 AM

    In other news, Aaron Rodgers just suffered another concussion thinking about this!

  25. pkrjones says: May 10, 2011 10:37 AM

    The VSR-4 HAS been discontinued, already. Who cares if the new helmets are bigger than the old versions… so are the players! The players are bigger, stronger and faster than even 20 years ago, so why shouldn’t the helmet’s increase in size and capability, also?

  26. rlmend says: May 10, 2011 10:42 AM

    Sounds like Riddell wants to so more over priced, over hyped helmets. Riddell makes it’s money from college, high school and youth football this is just propaganda to sell the pricier helmet. I wonder who funded the study?

    There are other, less expensive brands making their way into the market, Xenith being one of them. These alternatives to the Revolution are just as safe and cost half the price.

    Nice scare tactic Riddell!!

  27. ghostrider25 says: May 10, 2011 10:43 AM

    For those of you calling for Riddell to discontinue the VSR-4 model. If you took the time to read the source article, you’d see that’s exactly what they did.

    And I quote…

    “Riddell stopped selling the VSR-4 in 2010.”

  28. mike83ri says: May 10, 2011 10:44 AM

    patsseasonticketholder says:
    May 10, 2011 9:33 AM
    Riddell know the helmet isn’t safe. If Riddel gave a sh*t they would discontinue the model. Let me know how that lawsuit is coming will ya?
    ——————————-
    You make Pats fans sound dumb.

  29. thephantomstranger says: May 10, 2011 10:58 AM

    pkrjones says:
    May 10, 2011 7:57 AM
    The NFL fines players for violating uniform policy and wearing the wrong colored shoes, socks and/or headbands (for you McMahon fans)… why not BAN any helmet not receiving a 3 star or higher rating? The NFL has the power to make change, but will they?
    _________________

    Change “change” to “a change.”

    A what?

    You see, in here you make “change.” There, you make “a change.” So just make the change. Change “make change” to “make a change.” Oh, just change it!

  30. orangeflh says: May 10, 2011 11:12 AM

    If they all wore the Revolution helmets, we’d be used to seeing them in a month and they’d look perfectly normal.

  31. tombradysponytail says: May 10, 2011 12:48 PM

    @thephantomstranger

    Change “change” to “a change.”

    A what?

    You see, in here you make “change.” There, you make “a change.” So just make the change. Change “make change” to “make a change.” Oh, just change it

    _____

    How many people from Hannover does it take to change a light bulb? It doesn’t matter because they’d have to drive to French Lick just to get one.

  32. macbull says: May 10, 2011 12:56 PM

    It defies common sense for the NFL to continue offering “any” Riddell helmets as an option for the players, thinking they are going to be safer.

    Riddell is playing a game, using “independent studies” such as this one from a Virginia Tech biomedical professor, attempting to maintain their dominance in the football helmet industry.

    The hard shell, padded inside helmets, that have been around since the 60s are now obsolete and outdated.

    The sad truth about the NFL is that they have been aware of a better, safer helmet since 1967, when Willie Lanier switched from the NFL standard helmet (hard shell, padded inside) to a helmet that had padding added to the OUTSIDE of the standard helmet. Willie Lanier likely saved his career and extended it for another 10 yrs by making the switch.

    No, it was not Riddell that came up with the idea..it was a KC Chiefs trainer who used the idea of padding the outside of Lanier’s helmet. Those interested in reading the story…type in “Willie Lanier’s helmet” and you can see the pictures of and read articles about his helmet.

    That was 1967 and I could understand inaction by the NFL until Lanier’s career ended in 1977. But, the NFL cannot claim they did not know that adding padding to the outside of a standard issue NFL did not make them safer, especially for players who had a history of concussions.

    In 1986, Mark Kelso began his career with the Buffalo Bills, playing safety. After playing 3 seasons with the Bills, their medical staff became concerned about Kelso’s many concussions and felt he need to either retire or try using a standard issue NFL helmet with layer of padding on the outside..it was called a “PRO CAP”.

    Kelso did use the Pro Cap helmet and went on to play 5 more seasons before retiring in after the 1993 season. Kelso credits the Pro Cap helmet for extending his career and allowing him to play another 100 games.

    Again, the NFL had the concrete evidence that adding padding to the outside of their standard issue helmets made much safer at protecting the players brain from concussion.

    It was 1989 when Kelso first started wearing a helmet with padding added to the outside and he did so until the end of the 1993 season.

    THE NFL KNEW, adding padding to the outside of helmets made them safer as far back as 1967 when Willie Lanier wore a helmet with padding added to the outside and now the NFL had added evidence from Kelso, who wore a helmet padded on the outside from 1989 to 1993.

    Steve Wallace, offensive tackle for the 49ers from 1986 to 1996, suffered for years with concussions, wearing the NFL’s standard issue helmet. As close as I can tell, Wallace switched to the PRO CAP helmet around 1994 and never suffered another concussion.

    Wallace knew that Mark Kelso had been wearing a Pro Cap helmet, with a layer of padding added to the outside of the NFL’s standard issue helmet, and decided to give it a try…AND IT WORKED.

    It was 1994 to 1996 that Wallace wore a helmet padded on the outside and AGAIN THE NFL HAD EVIDENCE AND KNEW that THEIR helmets were safer for the players, with a layer of padding added to the outside of the helmets.

    …AND THE NFL DID NOTHING.

    In each of these 3 cases, only one player was a helmet padded on the outside….imagine how safe a football player’s brain would be if ALL the players were wearing helmets padded on the outside.

    All hard shell helmets should be outlawed in the NFL and the NFL should admit, they have known for decades that adding padding to the outside of their helmets would be much safer for their players.

    I’m not a lawyer but one would think there might be some culpability on the NFL’s part, for not mandating the safest possible helmets they could provide their players.

    FIX THE HELMETS ROGER…AND STOP SCREWING WITH THE GAME…

    …IT’S TACKLE FOOTBALL, NOT TWO HAND TOUCH.

    …mac

  33. moth25 says: May 10, 2011 1:00 PM

    If the NFL mandated a certain helmet for the employees of its 32 independant member businesses wouldn’t that be an anti-trust violation?

  34. thephantomstranger says: May 10, 2011 1:28 PM

    What, “Cheers” isn’t fresh anymore? How about a little something for the effort?

  35. rushbacker says: May 10, 2011 2:21 PM

    tednancy says:

    I agree. The Riddell Revolution makes players look like pee-wee players.

    Can’t we invent a 5-star helmet that doesn’t make the players look like absolute geeks?

    The NFL should ramp up its crackdown on helmet to helmet hits, and hopefully, players will continue to wear the VSR-4 and similar models.

    The Revolution helmet is the ugliest thing to happen to the sport. I wish it would go away. Players: you look like a dork with one of these things on.
    _______________

    Dude. It’s a punishing contact sport, not a damn fashion show. Go watch The View or something– you sound like a woman.

  36. thephantomstranger says: May 10, 2011 5:53 PM

    tombradysponytail says:
    May 10, 2011 12:48 PM
    @thephantomstranger

    Change “change” to “a change.”

    A what?

    You see, in here you make “change.” There, you make “a change.” So just make the change. Change “make change” to “make a change.” Oh, just change it

    _____

    How many people from Hannover does it take to change a light bulb? It doesn’t matter because they’d have to drive to French Lick just to get one.
    ______________

    I heard it a little different.

  37. mogogo1 says: May 11, 2011 7:41 PM

    Don’t know if they changed the model number since then, but visually the VSR-4 is the EXACT SAME helmet I wore in high school in the 1980s. Not shocking it doesn’t measure up to newer models. The question is why they were still selling until very recently.

  38. mogogo1 says: May 11, 2011 8:37 PM

    @macbull

    The sad reality is Pro Cap would probably already be the official helmet of the NFL if they looked cooler. The gripe from players was they thought they looked nerdy. That could be overcome by simply mandating them to be worn. But the NFL is afraid of losing out on sales–lots and lots of autographed helmets, replicas, etc. You’re 100% correct that it’s hypocritical of the league to do something like that when they’re supposedly so concerned with safety these days…but these are the same people who started a lockout even though it’s “all about the fans.”

  39. cri33 says: Mar 18, 2013 1:58 AM

    Big business protecting themselves at the cost of player’s health. So what’s new. The appearance probably could have been improved with encouragement from the NFL. And even if it wasn’t, if all players were required to wear them, that levels the field. And improves protection for players health. Its all about money. And how to make more.

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