UC professor explains safety design behind Joe Burrow’s new helmet

Fox 19 (Cincinnati)

August 8, 2023

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati say that Joe Burrow’s new helmet, the Vicis Zero 2, is designed to prevent concussions following a recent study with different helmet manufacturers and the impact on the brain.

UC Biomedical Engineering Professor Eric Nauman published a study where he and a team of researchers looked into helmet manufacturers Xenith, Riddell, Vicis (Vicis Zero 1), and Schutt to test which helmet had the best concussion reduction.

Researchers say they found strengths in each helmet design at each impact point by using a modal hammer on a dummy’s head with and without the helmets to measure the force of the blow using sensors.

UC researchers say the back of the helmets were the worst in testing.

“None of the helmets was uniformly good or uniformly bad, except on the back of the helmet where they were all uniformly bad,” Nauman said. “We didn’t expect the helmets would be so bad in that one place.”

In 2022, the NFL saw an 18% increase in concussions, according to UC. Even though Burrow has never had any reported concussions, UC says his Bengals teammates Tee Higgins and running back Joe Mixon have.

Researchers say that the lab tests are not enough to determine the level of mitigation that would provide the best protection for certain athletes. They say that field-based impact tracking, in addition to the lab results, could give better results.

Helmets that provide more padding and absorption may offer better protection than the more rigid type of helmets, Nauman said.

Burrow’s helmet deforms like a car bumper. Vicis says, “Impact forces are absorbed at the point of contact before they reach the head.”

The Vicis Zero 2 was named the top-ranked helmet by NFL & NFLPA helmet laboratory testing, according to the company.

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