Cleveland startup hoping to compete in NFL Helmet Challenge


CLEVELAND — The NFL is offering to pay $3 million to a person or company that develops improved helmets that reduce concussions and a local startup is hoping to take part in the  challenge.

The league will kick off the “Helmet Challenge” at symposium in Youngstown November 13 – 15.  They’re offering up to $2 million in grant money to develop a helmet prototype and a $1 million award for the winner.

Over a three-day symposium, experts from different industries will gather together to share information and work collaboratively on innovative helmet ideas.

Local startup Hedgemon has developed a helmet liner based on hedgehogs. The liner mimics the shock absorption properties of quills.

“It climbs trees, it climbs bushes and it’s not unusual for the hedgehog to fall and when it does, it doesn’t get hurt because his quills have evolved the shock-absorbing properties,” said Dr. Emily Kennedy, CEO of Hedgemon.

The prototype is undergoing a second round of testing and the Hedgemon team hopes it will be a part of the NFL’s challenge.

“Really the future of football depends on us coming up with a better way to protect those players,” Dr. Kennedy.

The league says prototypes included in the challenge will be submitted in May 2021 for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL.

Click here for more information or to request an invitation to attend the symposium. Registration  is open until October 2.

More on the NFL, here.

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