SMU is using Kevlar to try to cut the risk of concussions.
The school announced a partnership with Unequal Technologies on Tuesday that means every Mustang player's helmet will be lined with Kevlar on the inside. Kevlar is a high-strength synthetic fiber that's used to reinforce other products like tires and bulletproof vests.
According to the school, equipment manager Albert Veytia has been experimenting with Kevlar lining underneath parts of other equipment since 2011. Unequal made the Kevlar lining that Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo used in a rib protector after he broke his ribs.
The technology is called the Unequal Gyro, which has Kevlar and Acceleron, technology that the school says predicts a lower risk of concussions.
"There is no question Unequal is the right partner for us. You can't win if your players are in the training room, and as a coach or administrator, you're not doing everything you can to keep your student-athletes healthy unless you're using the most advanced protection available," SMU coach June Jones said in a statement. "Unequal is the best thing that has come along for contact sports. We look forward to not only using Unequal's protective sports gear but to working with the team at Unequal to continue to make their products better and to spread awareness to every college and league across the country."
An SMU spokesperson said the majority of SMU's players wear the Riddell Speed helmet. Riddell introduced the SpeedFlex helmet for spring practice for some college football teams. The SpeedFlex helmet was designed to disperse the enrgy from a hit to the head to attempt to minimize the risk of concussions. It also has sensors to help teams see the types of hits players have received.
As we've said before, it's impossible to eliminate concussions from football given the sport's violent nature. However, the more safety options, the better. With all of the advancements in helmet technology, there's bound to be a formula that will significantly increase player safety.
- - - - - - -