While ruggedness may provide the impression that a certain thing can withstand serious shocks, in sports it’s better to rely on shock-absorbing materials. This is definitely the case with the Riddell Speedflex football helmet, which includes flexible parts that attenuate the consequences of impacts.
The rigid, unyielding helmets that footballers have worn pretty much since the invention of this sport offer some sort of protection, but didn’t do anything to prevent concussions. The padding that’s placed inside such helmets is rarely enough for protecting the players from the dramatic complications of an impact. Riddell Speedflex is a football helmet that comes with several features meant to increase the degree of protection, thus enabling footballers to enjoy the game even more.
The built-in hinged rubber-padded panel that’s found right at the crown of the helmet moves by about a quarter of an inch when the player is hit by other footballers, or when his head hits the ground. While that flexibility may not look like much, it means a great deal when it comes to shock absorption. The panel is padded with polyurethane and synthetic rubber, two materials that attenuate even more the force of the impact.
The stainless steel mask is attached at the sides, and is also designed to flex a bit, in the event of a hit. The snowboard binding-resembling guided tooth keeps the helmet in place, so the player cannot lose it, as otherwise he would have to sit out a play.
What really sets this helmet apart from the ones made by Riddell’s competitors is the array of sensors that gather such data as linear or rotational acceleration, force of the impact, as well as the location of the player. When a possible concussion is detected, the helmet sends out a notification to the coach, letting him know that the player needs immediate attention and that a replacement should be sent out in the field.
It’s great that manufacturers of sports equipment think of new ways to protect players from forceful impacts, even though this notification feature has been present in other products, as well. Still, there’s hope that one day sports will be all about having fun without having to worry about getting injured or worse.
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