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TOP-RANKED

TOP-RATED

The VICIS ZERO1 performed better than all other helmets in NFL/NFLPA Performance Testing and received a 5-star rating from Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings

TOP-RANKED
TWO YEARS RUNNING

NFL/NFLPA
LABORATORY TESTING

Each year, the NFL and NFLPA partner with an independent laboratory to extensively test football helmets used in the NFL. The protocol determines which helmets best reduce head impact severity. Results of the 2018 test are available here. The shorter the bar, the better the performance.

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The VICIS ZERO1 is the Top-Ranked helmet for reducing impact severity for the second straight year, as named by the NFL/NFLPA. The 2018 VICIS ZERO1 outperformed all helmets tested, including the 2017 ZERO1. VICIS was the only company to submit a new or updated helmet model for NFL/NFLPA testing in 2018, underscoring our continued leadership in technology and innovation.

According to the NFL’s “Play Smart Play Safe” website, the test conditions are intended to represent potentially injurious head impacts in the NFL and the results should not be extrapolated to collegiate, high school, and youth play. Those looking for applicable test results for these levels of football should consult the Virginia Tech Helmet ratings. You will find the 2018 VICIS ZERO1 was also the Top-Rated helmet in the Virginia Tech ratings.

The NFL and NFLPA jointly appoint leading biomechanics experts to develop and oversee their annual helmet performance testing. According to the NFL’s website, these experts conduct “extensive laboratory research to evaluate which helmets best reduce head impact severity.” And, the website further states these results “are supported by on-field performance.” The NFLPA states “The goal of the study, as in prior years, was to determine which helmets best reduced head impact severity under laboratory conditions simulating concussion-causing impacts sustained by NFL players during games.

TOP-RANKED
TWO YEARS RUNNING

NFL/NFLPA
LABORATORY TESTING

TOP-RATED
5 STAR HELMET

5 STAR RATED

Each year, Virginia Tech researchers provide unbiased helmet ratings free of funding or influence from helmet makers. The ratings result from over 10 years of research on on-field head impacts and according to Virginia Tech, identify which helmets best reduce head injury risk. Results of the 2018 test are available here, showing the ZERO1 as Virginia Tech’s top-rated 5 Star helmet under five pounds.

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The VICIS ZERO1 is the Top-Rated helmet under five pounds for reducing head injury risk according to Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings.

The Virginia Tech test protocol was developed by observing the location, severity, and frequency of actual impacts in high school and collegiate play. Impact velocities are lower than those in NFL/NFLPA testing and the results are intended to be used to determine the best helmets for high school and collegiate play.

The 2018 STAR ratings, which now incorporate both linear and rotational measures, are based on methodology published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. Virginia Tech’s research was sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Institutes of Health.

TESTING 101

  • WHY TEST HELMETS IN THE LABORATORY?

    The laboratory is a highly controlled environment to perform experiments and is the international standard for developing safety systems, particularly for automobile safety, which is a very good analog for helmet safety. The most comparable evaluation system to the Virginia Tech STAR evaluation, according to Virginia Tech, is the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), where automobiles are tested in a laboratory using crash test dummies and automobiles are given a star rating based on the likelihood of injury of the occupants. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also test automobiles in laboratory environments to evaluate safety.

  • SHOULD YOU USE ON-FIELD CONCUSSION DATA TO EVALUATE HELMETS?

    No. According to Virginia Tech, you can only use on-field concussion data to compare helmets if you know the head impact exposure of all players. Per Virginia Tech, “One can only compare concussion rates in players with different helmets if you know the exposure of each group of players (i.e. how many head impacts and at what severity). For example, if Helmet #1 is worn by starting linebackers in the NFL and they have 5 total concussions in one year, while Helmet #2 is worn by backup quarterbacks who sustain 0 concussions that year, it is incorrect to say Helmet #2 is better than Helmet #1 since the exposure for those groups is very different. In theory, if you knew the real exposure of all the players, then this is possible, but it is very difficult to control for all factors.” Some of the factors that are difficult to control include medical history, genetic predisposition, differences in diagnostic criteria or judgment, selection bias toward a given helmet, and the accuracy of baseline and sideline assessments. Given the above, it is clear why the NFL, NFLPA, and Virginia Tech all use laboratory testing as the gold standard, following in the footsteps of their automotive safety counterparts at the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

  • WHAT IF A HELMET MAKER IS SHOWING ME ON-FIELD DATA FROM LAST SEASON?

    The NFL, NFLPA, and Virginia Tech all use laboratory testing to evaluate helmets, following in the footsteps of their automotive safety counterparts at the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Until and unless detailed exposure data for each player and impact is available, it is both misleading and irresponsible for any helmet maker or their representatives to point solely to on-field results to make helmet safety-related claims. In addition, manufacturers were asked to discontinue comparative concussion-related claims by the Federal Trade Commission in 2014. It is particularly irresponsible when on-field claims are informed by limited or flawed data, which is often the case. Whenever possible, seek information from independent research conducted by the NFL and NFLPA, Virginia Tech, or published in a peer-reviewed literatureengineering or medical journal.

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