The Science Behind Football Equipment

ความปลอดภัยของคุณที่นี่ puts incredible physical stress on players. It’s the sport of giant dramatic collisions between 230-pound athletes moving at high speeds, and it takes incredible skill to play safely. But protective equipment has evolved to enable those players to compete at their peak while minimizing risk. This special explores the science behind the padding, helmets, and other equipment that makes the game possible.

The plastic safety helmet developed for use in American football by sporting goods manufacturer Riddell in 1939 was a game changer. Designed to prevent skull fractures, the devastating injuries that had killed multiple football players through the first 60 years of the game’s history, the plastic helmet soon became an icon of the game.

Behind the Gear: The Science of Football Equipment

While helmet design hasn’t changed much since then, the technology that goes into the helmets has, especially the use of accelerometers that measure head impact force and can detect a blow to the head that could lead to a concussion. These sensors are currently used by all of the major NFL-partnered manufacturers.

Researchers are also working on ways to reduce the risks of knee, elbow, and shoulder pads by integrating shock-absorbing materials and supportive structures that disperse impact forces so they’re not focused on one particular area of the body. They’re also developing smart helmets that can monitor the number and severity of impacts a player experiences during games and practices. This information would help identify a player who might be at risk of a concussion and allow them to receive prompt medical attention.