The NFL and NFL Players Association announced a quarterback-specific helmet to be made available for the 2023 NFL season.
The inside of the “Zero2 Matrix QB” helmet is supposed to specifically help with the helmet-to-ground impact a quarterback takes when hitting the ground, which accounts for half of the concussions sustained by the quarterback.
The unveiling comes in the wake of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s absence from the team while recovering from the two concussions he sustained when his head hit the ground while bracing from a tackle.
“I think it's certainly understandable that they would make those sorts of adjustments at that position specifically,” San Luis Obispo High School Head Football Coach Pat Johnston said.
“As a former quarterback myself, the quarterback is particularly vulnerable, not being able to always brace themselves for the impacts that are about to happen.”
The 2022 NFL season saw an 18% increase in concussions, most of which were sustained by quarterbacks.
The Zero2 Matrix QB helmet ranks third on the NFL and NFL Players Association list, only behind the helmets that are designed specifically for offensive and defensive linemen. All three helmets are made by VICIS.
While the NFL is adjusting health and safety protocols, the same could be said for San Luis Obispo County.
Coach Johnston said it’s only a matter of time before the tested helmet makes its way to the college level and the high school level.
“They'll probably be collecting data for a couple few years at the NFL level and then seeing if it's something that is helping the cause. And then ultimately that trickle-down effect will go to college and then ultimately to high school,” Johnston said.
San Luis Obispo High School is required to have its football equipment refurbished every other year. Johnston said they do it before every season just to ensure the safety of his players.
“Our number of head injuries has decreased substantially over the last ten years because of the quality of equipment, because of the training that they get and the proper way to tackle and be tackled, and the care we put towards ordering the best equipment and getting it serviced every single year to make sure it's safe,” Johnston added.
“Everything at every level with football is changing,” President of Pacific League Youth Football League Taryn Warrecker said. “But the way that the NFL and the local levels in high school have all responded because they want to see football survive and they want our kids to be safe is really, really encouraging.”