Carlsbad helmet company keeping NFL players safe

NBC 7 San Diego

January 21, 2024

A play in the NFL’s wildcard weekend renewed the focus on player helmet safety in football.

The play that everyone is talking about involved Kansas City Chiefs star Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a helmet-to-helmet hit caused a huge crack and hole in his helmet.

VICIS, the company that makes Mahome’s helmet, said in a statement: “While outer shell damage is not ideal, the ZERO2 helmet did its job of protecting Patrick Mahomes during a head-to-head impact during unprecedented cold temperatures.”

A Carlsbad helmet executive believes his company can lead the way to a safer sport and has some questions with what exactly happened to Mahomes’ helmet.

“We know that there were another 53 players on the field that didn’t have a helmet failure issue, and we have years of football in cold weather in helmets that weren’t as scrutinized and we haven’t seen this type of failure,” Esayian said.

Nicholas Esayian is the CEO of Carlsbad-based Light Helmets, a helmet that is currently in 17 NFL locker rooms.

“There was probably some deviation in the process or some wear and tear that occurred a long the way that lead to this catastrophic failure, but we were thrilled that Mahomes wasn’t injured and the helmet gave itself up for the athlete,” Esayian said.

Light Helmets, rated #1 for safety by various organizations, are revolutionizing the helmet. The key to the Light Helmets are just that, they’re lighter than other helmets.

“Our helmets weigh between 1.5 pounds to 3 pounds less than traditional helmets,” Esayian said.

We’re talking roughly 3 pounds instead of 5 pounds. The lighter helmet means less weight on your head and neck.

“Your neck is the fulcrum for these impacts, so when you see a player get pushed back like att Stafford in this last weekend and his head slams into the ground that additional weight in a 40 or 50G impact is not 2 pounds it 80 or 100 pounds … the earth doesn’t move so that energy is projected into your head and cervical structure, so the reduction in weight reduces the kinetic energy in these secondary impacts.”

Doctors from NFL teams and scientists from UCSD and other colleges helped Light design their helmets. They’ve also applied technology and material used by the military.

“This is same material in a ballistic helmet or plate that military SID officer would wear. The helmet isn’t just a shell or internal it’s a system that works together and they’re designed for different levels of play, speeds and masses of player,” Esayian said.

Esayian wants to make it clear Light helmets or any helmets cannot prevent injury, they’re just trying to make athletes safer.

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