Why NFL Players Are Wearing Custom 3D-Printed Helmets

Why NFL Players Are Wearing Custom 3D-Printed Helmets


NFL players on almost every team are
testing out a brand new type of helmet: one created with
the help of 3D printing. This is all about
what’s under the shell. It’s called the
Riddell SpeedFlex Precision Diamond. It’s all about advanced protection for
the athlete, being able to dissipate and absorb the energy on impact. Silicon Valley-based Carbon prints customized
resin pads to go inside each player’s helmet, based on
a scan of his head. These are the pads from my scan
that we printed individually and we’ll send these over to Riddell and we’ll assemble
that into a final helmet and I’ll get a chance to bang
heads with others on the team. Soon foam could be a thing of
the past, just like the soft leather helmets first used by the
sport nearly 100 years ago. If this were foam you’d have to
have different kinds of foam and you’d have to put it together like a
puzzle. It’s labor intensive and the energy doesn’t couple well from one piece
to the other. By having a combination product this allows you to
have better protection with properties that differ in different
regions. And that’s, especially coupled with the shape of
your head, is exactly what’s needed to advance protection. The player has their head scanned
with an app created by Riddell. Then Carbon designs and prints seven custom
pads with a unique lattice pattern. So when you squeeze a lattice, every
time a strut flexes and buckles, that absorbs energy. So this is a great
way when you take an impact to distribute it out and absorb all
that energy and make a much safer product. It’s firm and soft in the
different regions where that player needs it, based on the exact shape of his head. Peyton Manning has commented already
that they’re very comfortable and he’s very excited about the fit being perfect
for his head and it’s fun to see an athlete like that who really
understands, who’s tried a lot of different helmets in his career. NFL players get to choose which helmet
model they wear and Carbon says more than 50 wanted to try this one out.
At least one player on each NFL team wore a Riddell speed flex precision
Diamond helmet at practices and games in the second half of the season.
One former player, Brent Jones of the 49ers, likes the design so much that
he’s now an investor. The pads are printed in Carbon’s new large
high-speed L1 printers. Carbon says its process is 50 to 100 times
faster than traditional 3D printing and they can use materials with more
elasticity and strength. It’s also printing the soles of Adidas shoes and
parts for inside Ford Mustangs and F-150s. Historically, you’d take a year and a
half to two years to introduce a new product. We’ve gone through
literally hundreds of different designs already. The helmets come at a time
when innovation in protective gear is sorely needed. The NFL reported 214
concussions this season. Although that number is down from 281 last season, the
dangers of repeated hits to the head are just beginning to surface. A landmark
2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that
99 percent of examined NFL players had signs of post
mortem chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that
significantly affects decision making, judgment and cognition. It became
notorious when former NFL player Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in 2017
after a murder conviction. Researchers found that at just 27 years
old, Hernandez suffered the most severe case of CTE ever discovered in
someone younger than 46. Although concussions are not totally preventable. DeSimone
hopes his company’s tech will help. There’s a lot of kids that are not
going to move all the way into the pros, right? And protecting them is
as important as the elite athlete and so we’re really passionate about
getting the technology into the hands more broadly. The NFL conducts lab research to
evaluate which helmets best reduce head impact severity. Last year they gave the
top two spots to the Zero1 helmet by Seattle start-up VICIS. It bends
and crumples to absorb impact and then bounces back. This year’s NFL research
will reveal if the 3D-printed pads inside the new Riddell helmet do
indeed make it safer than other models. No word yet on the price of
the custom helmets, but Riddell says they’re meant to last for a player’s
entire career. They’ll be available for NFL and college teams to purchase later
this year. And DeSimone hopes one day it can be used
to keep all athletes safer. You can think of so many
other sports: ice hockey, lacrosse, skiing, military and police and law
enforcement. We believe that customized products more broadly will have a really
big impact. And we think that fit is a key part of having
that next level of innovation that drives protection.

100 comments on this post

    Jon BrittleBones Jones

    Is Peyton and investor or did he just try the product?

    Reply

    Carlos S.C.

    I love playing the sport police

    Reply

    Joe Gantz

    If it fits Peyton's head, it must be good.

    Reply

    Eugene S

    More padding = more damage, we've proven this consistently.

    Reply

    Hastin Nuraini

    invite me for this- wow

    Reply

    xACE TKOYx

    Did yall canada has played football 50 years more then us there on there 104th grey cup

    Reply

    K WinChronic

    Man I remember when the revolution helmets came out..i thought those were the coolest best looking helmets growing up..wanted one in high school soo bad but couldn't afford one lol.

    Reply

    MrWhiteVzla

    This is a great idea, but until it spreads to all levels of football, the impact they may have might not be as great as advertised. By the time a player makes it into the pros, he has been getting hit in the head for over a decade already. So I'm looking forward to see how they will mass produce this idea if in fact is safer than the current helmets

    Reply

    Jake Esayian

    More bs from Riddel. Light helmets is making a way better helmet

    Reply

    Andrew Jullien

    Vicis did this first

    Reply

    Mauricio Espinoza

    This is crazy lol I never knew this company was in Redwood City. Lol like 10 minutes away from my house

    Reply

    darkspd31

    Just make it touch or flag instead of tackle. Far better solution

    Reply

    Another One

    Customised products are lit 🔥

    Reply

    K H

    4:21 so they're gonna be expensive is what you're saying

    Reply

    r e d

    Why would Peyton Manning need one? He retired

    Reply

    Apple Nerd

    IF YOU WANT TO PROTECT KIDS IN LEAGUES. PRICE THEM RIGHT DONT MAKE THEM WITH DIFFERENT MATERIAL JUST MAKE THE PRICE RIGHT PLEASE!!!

    Reply

    Texsion

    Peyton Manning is really a good insider he’s really gonna be the best test for real in game test

    Reply

    Hannes productions

    It’s about how the brain moves in the skull, they are not breaking skulls they are ruining their brains. Probably the best thing would be to remove the helmets and shoulder pads because that would reduce the speed and the amount of Impacts. But If we really care about athletes then all fight sports would ban cloves, back in the day of bare knuckle boxing nobody got knocked out simply because you can’t punch someone’s face without breaking your hand.

    Reply

    David Steinle

    This helmet isn't good enough for Tom Brady, who continues to wear an unsafe helmet he can't wear anymore? Come on.

    Reply

    XxbeastmodexX Marshawn lynch

    I have that helmat

    Reply

    Rob McCallister

    NOBODY CARES ABOUT HANDEGG

    Reply

    gypsydanger

    That's awesome. I love Carbon and what the potential of advanced manufacturing will do for America. I just hope to God these companies realize their IP is the target of governments around the world who want to steal them. I am looking at you China.

    Reply

    n/a n/a

    I can't wait to see this technology used in auto racing.

    Reply

    Bill Strathearn

    @3:49 here is a f**** brilliant idea: how about we stop kids from knocking the s*** out of each other and damaging their brain at a critical period in its formation and growth?

    Reply

    Tanner Toby

    Fucking stupid! 3D printing is best for mocking up, not production…

    Reply

    D J

    This what black panthers suit made out of

    Reply

    ALFRED ASAMOAH

    I wanna try it

    Reply

    ItsSurreal

    in 2018, that's at least 1 concussion PER GAME, and by what it looks like at least 2 concussions after every 5 games

    Reply

    Mr SS

    @2:05 "forner player" lol smh.

    Reply

    Jeff

    Does nothing to prevent concussions. You can't cushion the inside of your head with a helmet.

    Reply

    RuiYi GE

    It looks it may work, just the fact that it is carbon and hexagonal customised structure is already way advanced, plus it looks like it's flexible and not just rigid.

    Reply

    RuiYi GE

    I just think that it won't stop a bullet and DARPA have more advanced 500million dollars per helmet which is way more protective and advanced.

    Reply

    E. K

    finally a helmet that fits pating mannings head

    Reply

    Juan Macias

    Be the hammer not the nail 🔨

    Reply

    Ben H

    This still doesnt seem like it will stop the problem. This seems like it will only protect the skull, which is not the same as protecting the brain. The brain will still slam into the skull when large shock happens.

    Reply

    Mackenzie Cutshaw

    Just make the helmets kinda like nascar and you won’t have to worry about brain damage anymore

    Reply

    Galen Nekvasil

    Isn't Peyton's career over? He retired 😂

    Reply

    John Doe

    I heard that the helmets are the safest and it’s just the neck movements that cause most concussions idk I just heard it some where

    Reply

    Yusuf Wadud

    They can do so much stuff to protect nfl players it may effect the way they play abit but they would be safer.

    Reply

    Chico Haze

    We be cool seeing helmets that aren’t bulky. Would be cool seeing one strong like the modern one but slime like the older leather one they back then.

    Reply

    DLTD

    Well if it works for Payton’s big ass head…

    Reply

    Ryan Borron

    Payton Manning is retired

    Reply

    Jarred Still

    Still doesn't protect your brain from hitting your skull

    Reply

    Joseph Watkins

    🤔 Looks exactly like the type of material used in my bicycle helmets from childhood.

    Reply

    Gautham Aruna

    New Technic is very well

    Reply

    Jotaro Kujo

    Why is manning testing out new helmets when he doesn’t even play anymore? LMFAO

    Reply

    Huan Xu

    to protect the player is very simple, change the rules.

    Reply

    Jonathan Tostado

    Still getting CTE either way

    Reply

    Jeremiah Hill

    Football has so much rules and safety stuff like how you supposed to get hit hard and not feel anything mine as well play flag football

    Reply

    Toby Reinhardt

    Has anybody thought that CTE might be connected to steroid use? Perhaps head collisions along with high levels of steroid abuse might be to blame the crazy behavior. Roid rage? Also, how come CTE seems random? Collisions are part of the game and just about every player should show signs. Even if they’re young. Hernandez did. I bet this is why only a select few have CTE as opposed to all or most. Because of steroids.

    Reply

    Luis Romero

    Football is in every place where the sheriff is. 😎 #Dontdisrespectthesheriff

    Reply

    ItsMinarmy

    After years of getting shat on by Schutt and Vicis, Riddell is finally coming around

    Reply

    Cosmic Silence

    Foam haven’t been used in a long time all helmets in the last ten years are all air helmets

    Reply

    Eighty 8

    Just remove pads and helmets and the problem is fixed, look at Aussie sports, there is significantly less concussions due to the fact that you have to play differently, I am a fan of the nfl and around 20% of the tackles I see the player is leaning with their helmet first, in rugby union/league and afl the tackling is much safer, most hits are to the legs,waist and stomach
    I have seen harder hits in Aussie sports but they are much more safe compared to the nfl, the hits are almost exactly similar and Aussie sports don’t even use helmets and pads

    Reply

    Eric Pacynski

    Right so when will D3 get these?

    Reply

    Jackson Simmons

    Are we a joke to you?

    Reply

    DOC

    Except this won't really change much. Most injuries to the Head come from fast movements like getting tackled and your head snapping back.

    Reply

    Uknownn Unknowwnnn

    The price so I can start saving up ?

    Reply

    Clorox Bleach

    Lol they made Fortnite football a real thing.

    Reply

    AdemolaVictorTv

    Maybe putting the pad outside would make it safer… Research should show that.

    Reply

    Pierre Smith

    Brady’s still rocking the bucket he wore his rookie year 😂

    Reply

    A Communist

    How about don't play that sport

    Reply

    abe contreras

    Great product.. hopefully it's much cheaper because when I played in h.s I had 7 year old helmets.. since I went to public school in chicago they only received duct tape and mouth pieces every year… maybe 4 new helmets and shoulder pads every other year

    Reply

    Dingleberry

    Maybe just stop head butting each other?? No other contact sport in the world deliberately use their heads to stop each other?

    Reply

    Ben Yang

    Lacrosse helmets will need this technology. I am interested

    Reply

    GlockkHunnit

    Somebody explain why theybare talking about a retired qb… Pman aint gon get hit so why does it matter that he like it or not

    Reply

    excel366

    Looks a lot like vox

    Reply

    jamaicangirl2000

    This was very insightful. I didn't even think of other sports or physical activities such as hockey or skiing plus other work forces like the army or police force.

    Reply

    rogelio arriola

    The visis helmet is way better

    Reply

    Donald Wilson

    1) by the time their pro nfl players already have CTE

    2) no helmet in the world can prevent brain damage considering the brain rattles on the skull about every play

    Reply

    Akira 1

    The brain rattles in the skull REGARDLESS… nothing will prevent that

    Reply

    Jval

    If Peyton Manning gets comfortable in a helmet with that billboard on his head I’ll trust it.

    Reply

    Bennett Lieberman

    I like how the ceo said manning has had a bunch of different helmets. He’s only been on 2 teams tho

    Reply

    TheRealClawHeHeNum

    Riddell always trying to make it right

    Reply

    fpmodryan

    The problem is price. A high school team isn’t going to give kids these for free they can’t afford to fit 30 + kids with a $1000 + helmet. Safety will always be a problem for people who can’t afford the latest and greatest

    Reply

    Snicker Bars

    99%………….?
    Jesus Christ.. ….!

    Reply

    Iman Friday

    Okay so then, we’ll take Vicis’ hard shell and Riddell’s inner padding and merge them together and make a Super helmet and we’ll call it Project Hybrid.

    Reply

    A P

    Pretty sure Aaron Hernandez had more than a concussion. F*<k you for using that comparison and maybe not someone like Junior seau

    Reply

    Tom Green

    This technology needs to start on Pop Warner leagues everywhere. By the time players make it to the NFL they've been hit in the head hundreds and hundreds of times.

    Reply

    winning246

    I think if you play football your in entire life, you have to know that its messing up your head in some way. I played football 1 year and I got headaches every night after practice. To blame the NFL for your head injuries knowing its bad for you is like going to McDonalds every day and blaming them for your heart disease.

    Reply

    SmithN' Wesson

    Liberals pussifying everything

    Reply

    Jody Watkins

    0:31 ha this guy works with Riddell and cant even say Riddell right

    Reply

    Mingura666

    I thought you can’t change helmet at midseason.

    Reply

    Aaron Leigland

    I'm sorry I cannot get over his droopy ears

    Reply

    Jeffery Aldaz

    They really put Peyton Manning in this lol😂🤦‍♂️y’all should’ve put athletes from recent years👍🏻

    Reply

    SkiinLvzt

    What in the concussion

    Reply

    Tom Stickrod

    Aaron Hernandez committed suicide so that his child’s mother would get paid.

    Reply

    Jake Wood

    Cool

    Reply

    aust10

    But all the kids get CTE

    Reply

    jeanluc305

    Thats great. Cant wait till it is widely available for everyone.

    Reply

    Spencer Berlepsch

    1:45 then why does Peyton always have that big ass mark on his forehead

    Reply

    the1sdelung

    They know that Ridell is the only major helmet manufacturer still using foam right?

    Reply

    bearatts

    I don't think it matters what football helmets are made out of. The bottom line is that it's just a violent sport and concussions are inevitable. They said that this technology will be available soon for all NFL and college athletes. What about high school athletes? I suffered from 2 concussions alone my senior year. Plus how many high school concussions go undiagnosed every year? In all honesty, I love the sport of football, but nobody should play it. The human body wasn't designed for that kind of beating. In my mid 30's now, and I regret ever playing. If I had a son, I would steer them towards baseball and basketball if they wanted to be a student athlete.

    Reply

    Jeepers Kreepers

    They say it’s good for kids buts it’s about$1,000

    Reply

    kolby davis

    What a great idea good thing they don’t hit anymore in the nfl

    Reply

    Marist Old Boys

    Peytons long retired. Why bother

    Reply

    dudeman 2116

    Why does Brett Jones leg look broken at 2:06

    Reply

    Dayne Anderson

    How long do the helmets last?? I'm asking because I'm supposed to throw away and replace my bicycle helmet after any crash!

    Reply

    J R Crawford

    Honestly, why do you all wear so much protective gear? The fact that you have helmets just makes helmet to helmet collisions more of a thing. Why not take a look at every other high impact sport that has nowhere near the amount of concussions that do not use gear that promotes people using their head as a weapon

    Reply

    Daniel Alberto Ayala De Leon

    Imagine different clear plastic colors for the shell

    Reply

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