The Washington Huskies are wearing their old, Riddell helmets as they practice this afternoon at Husky Stadium, and there is a reason for that.
A UW spokesperson said that Vicis, the Seattle-based startup that created the impact force-reducing Zero1 helmets the Huskies had been wearing throughout fall camp and planned to wear this season, has pulled the helmets back into its lab for “fit and comfort refinements.”
It is not a safety issue, a spokesperson for Vicis said, but a response to player feedback about fit and comfort -- particularly in the chinstrap and forehead area. Vicis also pulled its helmets from the Oregon Ducks, who are the only other college program using the helmets this season.
There is no timetable yet for when UW and UO might get the helmets back.
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Most Huskies players asked about the helmets through the first week-plus of fall camp gave positive reviews, though there were a few mild complaints about getting used to the fit. UW coach Chris Petersen is scheduled to speak with reporters after today’s practice, so perhaps we will know more then.
The Zero1 helmet, developed by neurosurgeons and engineers, “employs a highly engineered columnar structure that moves omni-directionally to reduce linear and rotational forces,” according to the Vicis website, and is intended to “deform locally” and absorb impact similar to a car bumper.
“Automotive safety engineers have used local deformation to protect people for decades,” reads Vicis’ website. “We’re the first to bring this proven innovation to football helmets.”