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Concussion won't deter Falcons' Ryan Schraeder from using VICIS helmet

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder has no regrets about using a new helmet this season despite missing the past two games with his first concussion.

Schraeder opted for the VICIS helmet in 2017, a helmet designed to reduce impact on the head. He apparently is the only Falcon wearing such a helmet, although others have tried it out.

"I originally saw something on the internet about it, and then I asked the equipment guys and they said, 'Oh yeah, we can order it for you,'" Schraeder said. "From what I know, it's the best helmet on the market as far as the impact testing that they do. For me, I take care of myself. I like feeling good. This is one more precaution with the head thing."

Schraeder insisted the concussion he suffered in a Week 2 win against Green Bay had nothing to do with his helmet. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle was knocked out the game following a collision with 6-foot, 195-pound Packers cornerback Davon House while making a block on a Devonta Freeman touchdown run.

"When I pulled out, usually when you take on a corner, they can't take you head on because I'll just run them over," Schraeder explained, "so he went down to cut me. So I went down to meet him down there, and I was going to hit him with my shoulder. I went down, and it was either his knee or his helmet hit me in the back of the head.

"It was just a freak deal. It would have happened with any helmet."

Schraeder believes the VICIS helmet will give him added protection as he returns to action this week. The helmet is about 11 percent heavier than the highest-ranking Schutt Sports helmets. The VICIS also cost about $1,500, compared to $200-$300 for the Schutt Sports ones.

"It's an expensive helmet," Schraeder said. "I don't have a lot of concussions, but you know how we are on the offensive line. We're constantly hitting. And I like to use my head. I've heard things about the repetitive head (impact) and how that can cause issues down the road."

Schraeder said his decision to use the VICIS helmet is not a reaction to the increase in cases of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

"It doesn't worry me because I do a lot of stuff to take care of myself," he said. "I just wanted to try it out. Hey, if it's better for your head, why not?"

Schraeder has two VICIS helmets on top of his locker.

"First, it's more comfortable," Schraeder said. "It fits my head better. It doesn't slide any. Sometimes you hit and a helmet slides down your face a little bit by your nose. I really like that it stayed in position.

"Going through training camp with the contact, I never really had any headaches because sometimes, you get that. That's part of playing football."

As for how he's feeling coming off the concussion, Schraeder believes he's ready to go after a three-week break, including the bye week. It looked like he had a chance to return against Buffalo in Week 4, but it didn't happen.

"We were close," Schraeder said, "but I was still having symptoms. Just headaches with activity and headaches with meetings. Light sensitivity. Early on, it was like feeling in a fog. It just didn't feel right. And I didn't feel right until late (Bills) week. And by that point, I didn't have time to make it through the protocol to get to the game."

Upon his return, Schraeder gets to put his helmet on one of the top pass-rushers around in Miami's Cameron Wake, who has 2.5 sacks and eight quarterback hits through four games.

"Everybody knows who Cameron Wake is," Schraeder said. "I think he's one of the best pass-rushers in the league. I've had my problems with him in the past. He's going to bring it every play. And I'm going to bring it, too. I'm excited. It will be a fun matchup."