The football helmet hasn’t changed much in the past 70 years, Browd explained, and new research was aimed at confirming diagnosis rather than focusing on prevention.
“A lot of energy was spent around sensors and detecting concussion after it happened, and we wanted to know if there’s a way to prevent concussion on the field,” Browd said.
VICIS Inc., a company started at the University of Washington, produces a helmet unlike any the sports industry has seen. Browd and his co-founders envisioned a helmet that not only provided safer protection against concussions, but one that was at the peak of technological innovation and supported by the athletes who would wear it.
The VICIS ZERO1 helmet made its debut this fall across college and professional football. The helmet was in the hands of 30 NCAA football teams and 25 NFL teams during spring and summer practices and is an option for players during the regular season.
Browd is confident players will choose the physician and engineer-designed helmet over others.
“If you’re able to innovate in health care, you can have a very big impact,” Browd said. “If we come close to what we think we can with the helmet, it’s going to make sports safer for athletes across the board — in any helmeted sport. The technology is available, and we think we have it.”
This story originally ran in the Fall 2017 issue of the Doctor Gator newsletter.