Brain injury awareness has become a growing trend within the football community in recent years because of modern studies and research surrounding concussions and their impact on the lives of football players.
The National Football League (NFL) has stepped to the forefront of the conversation about brain injury and the preventative measures that can be taken in professional sports to help reduce the magnitude of the head trauma some athletes are suffering.
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, and in honor of this distinction, we’ve put together a Tristar Inc. Products review on the history of the football helmet. Tristar Inc. products review trending topics or items and take a closer look at their creation, history or invention. This Tristar Products review focuses on the football helmet.
The NFL helmet has evolved immensely throughout the years and its technology continues to be tweaked so to better protect the players who wear them. These days, it’s hard to believe that at one point helmets weren’t even a piece of mandatory equipment for football players. It was until 1939 when they became required in college football and then subsequently in the NFL in 1943.
But the helmets of those days were much different from what we’re used to now. The first football helmets were made by a harness maker and consisted of three thick leather straps that fit around the head.
The next waves of helmets were made of padded leather and were similar to aviator helmets of the time. Flaps were added with ear holes and the helmets were painted to distinguish team colors.
By 1917, football helmets had really hit their stride and were being designed to “cradle” the skull away from the helmet’s shell. Fabric formed a pattern inside the helmet and absorbed most of the shock from impacts. These helmets also allowed for better ventilation that previous ones. Rawlings and Spalding quickly became the leading manufacturers.
The first football helmet with a facemask was designed by sporting goods store owner Vern McMillian who attached a rubber-covered wire mask to the front of the leather helmet. This kind of helmet was used in the 1930s.
Finally, plastic helmets came along in the 1940s thanks to inventor John T. Riddell. These plastic helmets revolutionized the game by allowing for strong, lighter, longer-lasting helmets than we had ever seen before. Riddell also developed the first chin strap for football helmets.
This sort of helmet design evolved rapidly and by the 1980s and 1990s Polycarbonate alloy plastic helmets with vinyl coated steel alloy face masks were the norm.
Today, the NFL and engineers all over the world are working toward designing an even safer helmet that will provide even more protection and cause less brain injury. With months like March making people more aware of the seriousness of brain injuries, perhaps it is only a matter of time before the NFL finds the right solution.
Tristar Products review many interesting inventions and topics, so be sure to read our blog again soon to learn more from the next Tristar Products review.