PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ponte Vedra High School was the first school in the nation to order new football helmets for its team that are aimed at preventing head injuries, such as concussions.
The helmets are not concussion-proof, but research shows they provide better protection to prevent concussion than a standard helmet.
The Vicis helmet is described as working similar to the bumper on a car. The idea of a bumper is to sacrifice the car and save the passenger. With the helmet, the idea is protecting the player.
According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, football accounts for 60 percent of concussions.
From Pop Warner to the NFL, football teams nationwide continue to do what they can to prevent concussions.
One of those teams is the Ponte Vedra High School Sharks. The high school took a big step in concussion prevention, being the first high school in the nation to purchase the Vicis Zero1 helmet for the entire varsity team.
Ponte Vedra High School football coach Matt Toblin is thrilled.
"Obviously, we're interested in anything we can do in order to reduce the possibility of concussions," Toblin told News4Jax on Wednesday. "As a parent, or as a coach, who sees the impact it has, not only on the football field, but what it does to classrooms and kids falling behind, anything we can do to mitigate that impact we want to do."
The Vicis Zero1 helmet has a soft outer shell layer and an underlying layer of columns designed to reduce collisions from multiple directions.
Former NFL player Todd Fordham, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1997 to 2003, is now a coach for several teams in St. Johns County, including an assistant coach at Ponte Vedra where his son plays.
"I’m really excited that the administration and the coaches found it important enough in this day and time, with everything we’re fighting with football and the negativity, that they would go out and spend this and make sure they’re doing everything they can to protect them," Fordham said.
Toblin said the booster club raised enough money to buy the varsity team the Zero1 helmets. They are expected to arrive this summer, giving the football players time to test them out before the upcoming season begins in fall.
They cost $950 retail, but the company said discounts and promotions may be available. Anyone interested in looking into the helmets for a football team can call 904-806-6235 or send an email to email@example.com.
Vicis told News4Jax that 400 other high school football programs and have also placed orders for the helmet since Ponte Vedra ordered theirs. Vicis said 110 college and professional teams will also be getting the helmets.
According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, an estimated 1.6-3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur every year in the United States, and 10 percent of all contact sport athletes sustain concussions every year.
In football, the Brain Injury Research Institute states, brain injuries account for 65-95 percent of all fatalities, and football injuries related to the brain occur at the rate of one in every 5.5 games.