Last Wednesday, Coltzilla continued to follow the story on Austin Collie's mysterious helmet. In the story, we speculated that the helmet could be a Simpson creation, noting the bulbous shape and similarities to racing helmets. Today, the Indy Star confirmed our hunch. From the Star story:
While Collie has declined to discuss his new carbon fiber Kevlar helmet, which has additional padding and weighs just two pounds as opposed to the typical five- to seven-pound models, Simpson said the receiver has told him he likes it. Collie's helmet made other Colts curious, including some established Pro Bowl stars. Defensive end Dwight Freeney tried one Monday for about 30 minutes. Tight end Dallas Clark, who has had multiple concussions in his career, has been fitted. So, too, have center Jeff Saturday and offensive lineman Ryan Diem. "Clark loved it," said Simpson, who is in a partnership with accomplished auto racing team owner Chip Ganassi on the venture. "It's significantly better in impacts than what they have been using." Simpson has been working on a safer helmet since 2009. He conducted 400 impact tests and made frequent design changes. "I think weight is the biggest issue," said Simpson, 71. "If a five-pound helmet at 20 mph hits a wall and a two-pound helmet at 20 mph hits a wall, the five-pound one is going to have way more energy than the two-pound one. That's just simple physics.Nothing but good can come from having another legitimate competitor in the football helmet market. Simpson's work and Collie's testing could lead to drastic improvements in concussion-reduction technologies and may unlock the key to a player like Collie having an extended career. That more Colts players are already testing it out and responding positively could mean the team will have a unique look on the field, and a lighter helmet could also help players stay fresh for longer periods of time during extended play. We would be remiss if we did not send out a thank you to Coltzilla reader Bill Bixler for emailing us regarding the connection, and also the work of The Concussion Blog in sharing and developing some of their own thoughts as the story developed. Mark this is one more important story going in Colts land that will be tracked closely as the season progresses.