Several Seattle Seahawks players, including stars like Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman, are wearing the new Vicis helmet during games.
The Seahawks had their preseason home opener on Friday, beating Minnesota 20-13 at CenturyLink Field, and a handful of players sported the high-tech helmet that is being used during actual games for the first time.
In the Zone.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) August 19, 2017
During Seattle’s second preseason game, you could recognize the helmet from its triangular air pockets on the front. Star wide receiver Doug Baldwin, also an investor in Vicis, was wearing one, too.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) August 19, 2017
Other Seahawks players wearing the Vicis helmet include linebacker Cliff Avril and offensive lineman Justin Britt.
Players on others teams like the Houston Texans are also wearing the helmet this preseason.
The ZERO1 helmet, developed over the past four years by Seattle-based startup Vicis, features a unique design that is meant to mitigate the forces thought to cause concussions. Unlike traditional helmets, the outer shell on the ZERO1 is deformable and yields much like a car bumper upon impact. There is also a layer of flexible columns in the helmet that can absorb impact before it reaches a head.
In addition, there is a hard, thin inner shell. The inner liner, meanwhile, is customizable depending on a player’s most comfortable fit.
Vicis, which spun out of the University of Washington in 2014, has shipped its $1,500 helmet to nearly every NFL team — almost half have officially placed orders for more — and a variety of top college football programs. Individual players have the option of wearing the new helmet, or sticking with something else. Some high school athletes will test the Vicis helmet this season, too.
In June, GeekWire toured Vicis’ 3,000 square-foot production facility in Seattle that is pumping out hundreds of ZERO1 helmets.
Vicis recently garnered national attention after its helmet finished first in the NFL’s 2017 Helmet Laboratory Testing Performance Results, which assessed 33 helmets that could be worn in the upcoming 2017 season and determined which was best at reducing head impact severity experienced by players during games.
Vicis, which has raised $40 million to date and won a $250,000 grant from the NFL, could play a key role in curbing the concussion problem for not just pro football, but many other sports. Last month, a new study examined the brains of 111 deceased football players — 110 of them were found to have CTE, the disease caused by repeated impact to the head.