Player Health and Safety
ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF FIRST
HeadHealthTECH Challenge II Open April 18
through June 14
NEW YORK, NY—The National Football
League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) today announced
the winners of HeadHealthTECH Challenge I and launched HeadHealthTECH Challenge
II, which invites proposals for improvements in football protective equipment
including helmets and related technologies, turf systems, shoulder and other
pads, and additional innovative concepts.
HeadHealthTECH Challenge series is one component of the Play Smart. Play Safe. Engineering Roadmap—a
$60-million comprehensive plan funded by the NFL and managed by FRI to create
incentives for sporting goods companies, as well as other manufacturers, small
businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities from around the world to develop
improved helmets and protective equipment in the next three to five years. Launched
in November 2016, the TECH Challenge series is operated and managed on behalf
of FRI by Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke
collective goal is to spur next-generation solutions in protective equipment,”
said JEFF MILLER, NFL Executive Vice
President of Health and Safety Initiatives. “Not only do these grants advance
promising technologies, but FRI’s expert partners at Duke CTSI provide valuable
feedback and mentorship to all companies that submit proposals. We want to
encourage and support new and innovative ideas that will improve sports
TECH Challenge series is designed to bridge the gap between the engineering and
medical experts and the marketplace, and to direct funding where we can create
value,” said BARRY MYERS, MD, PhD,
MBA, Director of Innovation Duke CTSI, Coulter Program Director and Professor
of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and a consultant to the NFLPA. “If
you’re an innovator, we want you to apply. We want to hear what your product
is, what your vision is and how we can help you succeed.”
FRI awards the most promising TECH Challenge
proposals with a cumulative value of up to $1 million a year, including in-kind
support. For TECH Challenge I, a panel of expert judges selected by Duke CTSI,
in collaboration with FRI, reviewed and provided feedback on 50 proposals all
focused on improved protective equipment. Every TECH Challenge applicant
receives constructive feedback to help refine innovations and increase chances
for success on future submissions and is invited to reapply.
TECH Challenge I
- VyaTek Sports received a grant of
$190,000 to support development and testing of its Zorbz technology, a series
of highly efficient energy-absorbing modules added to a helmet system that can
be removed and replaced after a significant impact.
- Guardian Innovations received a grant of
$20,000 to support biomechanical testing of its Guardian Cap technology. The
Guardian Cap is a decoupled, soft helmet cover designed to augment football
helmets and reduce the severity of impacts.
Information about TECH Challenges and the process for making a
submission can be found at: www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com/HeadHealthTECH.
About Play Smart. Play Safe.
September 2016, Commissioner Goodell launched Play Smart. Play Safe.—an initiative to drive progress in the
prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head injuries, enhance medical protocols
and further improve the way the game is taught and played. As part of the
initiative, the NFL and its 32 club owners pledged $100 million to help spur
independent medical research and engineering advancements. For more information about the initiative,
please visit www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com.
For more information on the Play Smart. Play
Safe. Engineering Roadmap, please visit
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