<
>

Report warned Riddell about helmets

Sabrina Shankman has the story on Riddell, which marketed a football helmet as protection against concussions despite receiving a report that stated the contrary.

More than a decade ago, the sports equipment manufacturer Riddell was developing a highly anticipated new football helmet designed to reduce players' risk of concussions. The helmet was ambitiously called the Revolution. It would become the most widely used helmet in the NFL and earn millions in sales to players in college, high school and youth leagues.

But back in 2000 the company received a warning: A biomechanics firm hired first by the NFL and later by Riddell to test helmets and study head injuries sent the company a report showing that no football helmet, no matter how revolutionary, could prevent concussions.

In fact, the report stated, even a helmet that passed the industry safety standard for protection against skull fractures and other severe head injuries could leave a player with a 95 percent likelihood of receiving a concussion from a strong enough blow.

Yet the report, made public during a recent Colorado lawsuit, did not deter Riddell from marketing the helmet as protection against concussions. Riddell promoted the Revolution by saying that players who wore it were 31 percent less likely to suffer a concussion -- a figure criticized as an exaggeration by leading experts on head injuries and some members of Congress

Read the rest of Shankman's story here.