Cutaway image of the VICIS Zero1 Helmet, courtesy of VICIS.
Cutaway image of the VICIS Zero1 Helmet, courtesy of VICIS.

Protecting Your Dome: Concussions & Helmet Technology

The VICIS Zero1. Courtesy of VICIS.
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About This Episode

On this episode of Playing with Science we address a hot button issue surrounding football and other contact sports: concussions, and the technology and science being brought to bear to prevent them. Hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice investigate the state of concussion research and helmet technology alongside some of the field’s leading experts. Dr. Samuel Browd, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at VICIS and Independent Neurologic Consultant for the Seattle Seahawks, joins Chuck and Gary to discuss how VICIS is re-defining the modern-day football helmet with the “VICIS Zero1.” You’ll hear about how VICIS began and the progress that’s behind exponentially increasing player safety. Learn how the Zero1 model was inspired by architecture and if the VICIS team is ever inspired by nature. Samuel also tells us why starting from scratch served as an advantage, but also why the team still had to make sure the helmet looked good. We break down the “water helmet” idea to see if there’s anything worth exploring. Then, Richard Brandt, PhD, physicist and CEO at Sports Science, stops by to help us understand what’s going on inside the helmet when the impact occurs. Find out about Richard’s own research and his helmet prototype. Discover why the key to having a better helmet is to dissipate impact energy into heat.  Explore the numbers behind the forceful impacts happening on the field. Finally, we hear from Dr. Roger Härtl, neurosurgeon for the New York Giants. Roger shares insight into how the brain functions once it becomes concussed and tells us how it tries to repair itself, possibly to its own detriment. Examine Roger’s holistic approach to solving the concussion problem, and get details on how the concussion protocol has evolved over time. All that, plus, Roger explains how the New York Giants have been at the forefront of that concussion protocol, and, we ponder how far football can go to address the issues without taking away the intrinsic value of the sport.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Protecting Your Dome: Concussions & Helmet Technology.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
  • Host

    Gary O'Reilly

    Gary O'Reilly
    Broadcaster, Sports Analyst, Former professional soccer player
  • Guest

    Samuel Browd

    Dr. Samuel Browd
    Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at VICIS, Independent Neurologic Consultant to the Seattle Seahawks
  • Guest

    Richard Brandt

    Richard Brandt, PhD
    Physicist & CEO at Sports Science
  • Guest

    Roger Hartl

    Dr. Roger Härtl
    Official neurosurgeon New York Giants, Director of Spinal Surgery and Neurotrauma at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center in New York

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