Researchers from Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center conducted a survey examining use by high school football coaches using a specific football helmet, the VICIS Zero1. The results are reported below.
Coaches Survey of VICIS Zero1 Helmet Use in HS Football
We conducted a survey of high school football coaches in which the VICIS Zero1 helmet was used by the majority of their players in the 2018-19 football season.
21 out of 36 schools responded to our survey on VICIS Zero1 helmet use in high school football giving us a response rate of 58%. We have compiled these responses in to the results reported below.
Almost all coaches surveyed reported that 90-100% of their varsity football players used the VICIS Zero1 helmet in the 18/19 season. Only one coach reported that only 75-89% of players wore the VICIS helmet. Prior to switching to the VICIS helmet, Riddell Speed and Speedflex helmets were by far the most commonly used helmet brand, though Shutt Vengeance and Xenith X2E helmets were also used.
A total of 59 concussions were reported collectively from all coaches among their varsity football players in the 18/19 season, representing 7.3% of the players on teams surveyed. Almost all of these concussions were for individuals wearing the VICIS Zero1 helmet (57 out of 59).
In the 17/18 season, 90 concussions were reported representing 10.6% of players on teams surveyed, and in the 16/17 season, 102 concussions were reported representing 11.9% of players on teams surveyed.
These numbers suggest that fewer concussions took place when the VICIS Zero1 helmet was used. A chi-square test also reveals that this difference is statistically significant, meaning that the number of concussions was more different than what would be expected by chance alone (p=0.005).
It is important to note that concussions also seemed to be decreasing between the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons as well, though less so than the difference between the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons. It is possible that the 18/19 result could be part of a general trend towards fewer concussion injuries in high school varsity football from other changes to the game. Given that we only have three years of self-reported data, it is not possible to determine the magnitude of the difference attributable to wearing VICIS helmets.
General Feeling After Games:
13 of the coaches surveyed reported that their varsity players generally felt better this season compared to the previous seasons, and 8 coaches reported that their players felt about the same. No coaches reported that their players felt worse in the 18/19 season compared to the previous two seasons.
One third of coaches responded that they did not know how often their players experienced headaches in the 18/19 season compared to previous seasons. Half of coaches surveyed reported that on average their players reported fewer headaches during the 18/19 season compared to the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons. Only one coach reported more headaches in the 18/19 season compared to the previous two seasons.
Qualitative Analysis of Comments:
16 of the 21 coaches who responded also wrote additional comments based on their experiences with the helmet:
- Notably, five different coaches offered that the VICIS Zero1 helmet was the “best” they had every used. Seven other coaches indicate the VICIS Xero1 was a better helmet. Five comments mention the VICIS Zero1 helmets are safer, five comments mention they are more comfortable, and two mention the increased field of vision as a benefit.
- One coach mentioned that the severity of the concussion one of his players received would have been far worse had he not been wearing the VICIS Zero1 helmet.
- Only two comments mention that some players did not prefer the VICIS Zero1 helmet. One comment stated that they were less comfortable than previous helmets citing heaviness and bulkiness as issues.