Riddell Unveils Overhauled Football Helmet, SpeedFlex

By: Brandon Gobbi

Throughout football, the leading worry about the sport today is safety and how concussions can be prevented. Riddell, the sport’s leading helmet supplier, has introduced the new SpeedFlex helmet, which it hopes will help to prevent concussions.

The SpeedFlex helmet will be the third helmet introduced since 2008. Riddell introduced the Revolution Speed helmet in 2008 and the Riddell 360 in 2012. This new helmet is specially designed to prevent injuries caused by head-to-head impact.

This new helmet will absorb head impact better than any other helmet on the market. Riddell wants people to know that their helmet will not stop concussions, but that it will absorb head impact better than any helmet they have introduced. This helmet is said to “raise the bar for football helmet performance and protective technologies across the industry” (President of Riddell).

Being around the game of football my whole life, and working with helmets as a football equipment manager, I know that it will take a lot for a helmet to completely prevent concussions. Better fitting helmets that do not move side-to-side when you run are important. If they move, the risk of concussions become higher. Coming up with a solution to end concussions will be difficult. In my opinion, concussions will never be stopped; it’s just part of the game. However, I believe that this helmet could lead to a major decrease in concussions.

I want to hear what you think. Do you think this helmet will help with concussions, or do you think much more needs to be done for the concussion rate to decrease? Remember this is from the PeeWee level right up to the professional level.

38 thoughts on “Riddell Unveils Overhauled Football Helmet, SpeedFlex

  1. John Vallerand April 16, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    That’s a very interesting perspective on the new football helmets. I have played hockey all the way through high school and can remember numerous times where teammates are out of play and even miss full seasons do to concussions. I know that Bauer makes a very similar helmet to reduce concussions by using the special padding and fitting, which has reduced a lot of concussions in hockey. Even though it may not prevent a guarantee for no concussions. I agree that this type of technology needs to be taken to different markets like other sports.


  2. David Cravotta April 16, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    I do think that certain helmets can absorb a hit better than others, but I don’t think a certain helmet can prevent concussions altogether. Football is football and what else can you really do to stop concussions? Change the game? No, of course the game of football will not change. You do see more often now in the professional level that they’re penalizing players for these brutal hits. Head to head contact is probably the most common hit penalty. That is probably one of the bigger things in the lead to stop concussions because it shows other plays not to hit like that or else they will be penalized. A hit the to head is what it is and you can only try to soften the impact rather than take it away.


  3. Kyley Murphy April 16, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    I think with all this new technology with helmets, that it might help to lessen the occurrence of concussions but it will not stop them all together. I agree with David. The only way to make sure concussions stop is to stop head to head contact, which is never going to happen. I’m not saying that most players do it on purpose, it just happens while trying to make the play. If you think of the improvement that companies have made in the past couple years, it is extraordinary. I think this will help, but it is more on the coaches and players to watch how their players are getting hit, and know when to pull them out so they don’t get injured further


  4. Patrick April 16, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    As many of you have already mentioned, Concussions truly are just apart of the game just like they are apart of the many other sports we play. It has become almost a bigger problem in sports such as women’s or mens soccer. The force of a head to head contact or ball to head contact can have similar impacts. Involving the sport of Football, i believe that companies have made great strides towards reducing concussion rates or even concussion severity, but i still think that progressions can be made in research and technology. I say that simply because for a very long time i feel that people just believed in the concept that only the “Big”, “Jaw-Dropping” hits caused concussions when in reality the same damage is discovered involving less contact sports today.


  5. Blake Boudreau April 17, 2015 / 12:44 am

    I think that this helmet can prevent future concussions from happening by not letting the players back on the field. Due to the sensors contacting the trainers that a specific player took a serious hit to the head can be very beneficial. Although, with this being said I believe that this technology could also misread what a serious blow the head actually is. What if the technology misreads, or gets confused and still contacts the trainer and that player has to come out of the game. If it’s a star player this could be a major problem. This new technology needs to be tested before it can be successful.


  6. Mattia Lanzi April 17, 2015 / 1:58 am

    In my opinion, i think that step by step with technology we are going to have a lot of new interesting thing, such as this kind of helmet. But i think that we are not close yet to save that player from a concussion. Football is a contact sport with so many hits, and players usually hit each other on the hand. This is a great idea, but it should be tested first and then if successful should be approved.


  7. Yafen Liu April 19, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    I think what the helmet could do is reduce the rate of concussions, instead of concussions. As long as there are sports, there would be injury. The only diffidence is that the level of injury. As a result, the new helmet could only decline the level of injury rather than the injury itself. But it is pretty a good news to people, especially athletes. That is, the future of this helmet is great if it really works.


  8. William Cavalier April 20, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    Its true that concussions can never fully be removed from the game of football without hurting the mobility of the players but Riddell is making advances in the concussion preventing business.This helmet may be better for preventing concussions because of all the studies and information thats now available to people. Overall its definitely a step in the right direction decreasing the concussion rate of players because it will improve overall health of the players once they retire and they will not have to much brain damage.


  9. Kevin McAtamney April 20, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    Any step is a step forward when it comes to concussion prevention. There are a strong amount of ideas with supporting evidence that will revolutionize how the game of football is played and the injuries that come with it. After the massive lawsuit that was settled between the NFL and the players a few years back, concussion testing and prevention have become the norm. The one issue I see present in this argument is the player peer pressure. When I played football in college, I received my fair share of head injuries but I always had that awful feeling that my teammates and friends would look down on me or think I’m faking it. That was the worst part about the injury. I feel like this could be a huge part in my players don’t speak up when head injuries occur. THAT and the fear of losing their starting spot and huge contracts. Definitely something to consider…


  10. Joe Wathen April 20, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    Look at the recent headlines in the NFL for concussions. Chris Borland retired from the San Francisco 49ers this past offseason, he had only played in the league for one year. He said it was because of all the concussions he got when he was playing before he came into the NFL. So with that in mind I believe that these new helmets be used in the collegiate, high school, and youth levels. To help make a players career longer would be the ultimate goal!


  11. Patrick Lynch April 21, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    I think this is a great article, because growing up I have had many concussions either from hockey, football, or lacrosse. I was not fully aware of what concussions where when I was a kid, so I chose the helmet with the best style. I think there should be more awareness for these football helmets in high school and Pop Warner leagues. I think Riddell should go to prep schools, private high schools, and young kids leagues. This will help spread awareness of concussions at a young age for this players, and have these athletes not go out to buy helmets that have good style instead.


  12. Jeff Marcoux April 21, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    It’s great that the technology is advancing towards better prevention of concussions, but it’s impossible to completely avoid concussions in a contact sport, regardless of the quality of the equipment. The real changes need to take place at the youth level, where proper tackling technique needs to be taught, and at the NFL rule level, where constant rule modifications need to be made to encourage head safety.


  13. Sasha Letourneau April 21, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    I do not hunk they will ever be able to stop concussions from happening all together but I do think that this is a great try to lower the amount of concussions that occur! Concussions are no fun at all, having had three myself, I would not wish one upon anyone. I think that this helmet is a great idea and will definitely help because of the absorption of the impact.


  14. Yuxuan Wang April 21, 2015 / 7:10 pm

    I think athlete’s safe should be the first thing to pay attention in sport game. I do support to use this helmet. In other side, I think high quality equipment can ensure athletes play in the best level.


  15. Kaitlyn Magnano April 21, 2015 / 9:45 pm

    I feel that the helmet will help with the decrease in concussions. Though it may not prevent them from happening, it will still lower the possibility and chance of one getting a concussion. I think that this helmet is a good idea and I feel that all football athletes should definitely consider investing in one.


  16. Braxton Bilous April 22, 2015 / 3:58 am

    The design and approach of Riddell’s new helmet is great, as in recent years the issue of concussions has exploded across many different high impact sports due to technological advances. With many parents and teams concerned for their players safety I think this product will be very successful. Now for your question, I due in fact think this product will be able to reduce the rate of concussions. Wether it is only by 0.01%, any decrease will be great for the game of football. But concussions will always be apart of football as long as football remains a contact sport, which is most likely until the end of time. Any movement to reduce injuries is a good one and should be a successful one, without reducing the performance of an athlete.


  17. David Collins April 23, 2015 / 12:55 am

    At the professional level, in all sports, as long as we have 6’3″ 285llb men running into each other at full speed, we’re going to keep seeing concussions. No helmet will ever eliminate them. The key to limiting concussions in the NFL, and to maintain player safety, is to continuous monitor against a baseline and treat the concussions after the fact. After one concussion, a person becomes immediately more vulnerable for it to happen again. The NFL has seen a reduction in concussions due to their process of monitoring players, and having a protocol before they can play again, as well as trying to flag unnecessary hits to the head on defenseless players. With that said, if a helmet prevents even one concussion out of 1000, it’s totally worth it.

    I think the real pro of these helmets are at the Pop Warner level. The level of force and contact at a young age is significantly less. An NFL collision is the equivalent to a car crash, where a Pop Warner collision is far less impactful. Having a safer helmet, will play a much bigger preventive role.


  18. Andrew Dresner April 23, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Anyway to enhance player safety is always a good thing. Helmet technology is always evolving and it’s great to see that there are people out there that continue to work hard for player safety. I have been involved with football now for almost 20 years as a player and a coach and it has become clear to me that concussion prevention can be helped by what the individual player does off of the field in the weight room. The past two years I have worked with a strength coach whose motto is “a strong neck is a healthy head”. It’s proven that when players put an emphasis strengthening their necks they are more likely to lessen the grade of a concussion. A grade 2 concussion may become a grade 1 and a grade 1 may not be a concussion at all. I think the more players and coaches become aware of these preventative measures and couple that with new helmet technology it may be possible to eliminate a large percentage of the concussions that occur.


  19. Kendra Van Pelt April 25, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    I think this new helmet could definitely help with concussion rates, although it will not prevent them completely and is definitely not something to rely on. Unfortunately, because the game of football has become so aggressive, concussions have been increasingly more and more difficult to avoid. I think helmets are a huge thing and as technology grows, so can the safety of the players. However, helmets and protective padding can only do so much. I do believe that in order to lessen the level of concussions, rules in the game need to change. Not in a dramatic way, as I realize that may never happen. But like many are already doing, I believe players should be getting called out for extremely aggressive tackles. I think it is extremely important to also teach from a young age the dangers of concussions, how to prevent them, and in some way try to teach the kids from a young age better plays in which the risk of concussions are lessened.


  20. Sam Ventresca April 26, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    The helmet industry defiantley needs to work on preventing concussions. It is inevitable that concussions will happen, but limiting them is the goal. Riddell should target their helmets to the younger players because the older ones already have preferences. The NFL and college players won’t be inclined to make a change because most of them care about how they feel inside the helmet rather than safety. If the Riddell helmet is successful they should look into expanding to other sports where concussions are prominent like hockey and lacrosse.


  21. Emma Tkachuk April 27, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    I think that with the new innovations Riddell is making to their helmets eventually they may be able to prevent concussions, but it will not be an easy task. No matter how much padding is in the helmets to absorb the impact players are still getting hit in the head. I think that targeting to younger markets would be the biggest success because safety is the most important thing. I believe Riddells new helmet will be successful, but I think it will be awhile before they create a helmet that completely prevents concussions.


  22. Jimmy Clark April 27, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    In recent years concussions have really been one of the hot topics in football. We have seen rule changes to adjust for safety, and football in general has been given a worse rep as the years have gone on. Something has to be done about this because eventually no parents are gonna allow their kid to play, and the sport of football is going to start to diminish. With this new helmet that Riddell is coming out with, hopefully we see a change, and the safety aspect of the game changes as we know it.


  23. Keelyn Crowe April 27, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    I think Riddell has a very good idea with the helmet being more safe, and if it works it should be a step in the right direction. In my opinion i think this product could sell because lately the attention towards concussions has increased as of recently. I see in the news all the time people who either lose their lives or become very badly brain damaged. My 8 yr old brother got a concussion during football and it was so serious that he will not be able to continue with football until high school, i know that my family if the Riddell product works could of greatly benefited. I think this product could take off if enough advertising is done towards the right target market.


  24. Lauren Smith April 27, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    In regards to stopping concussions completely, that will never happen with either football or any contact sport. Its true that concussions can never fully be removed from the game of football without hurting the mobility of the players but the company Riddell is making serious advances in a positive direction by implementing thus new technology. However, the helmet itself may either have flaws or be too expensive in order to actually provide positive advances when it comes to decreasing the number of head injuries in athletes whether high school or professional NFL level. It’s definitely going to take some time, a lot of trial and error, editing, and review in order for this product to be successful and help prevent future concussions on the playing field.


  25. Joe Greco April 27, 2015 / 7:53 pm

    Year by year it is a common occurrence that all football leagues from pee-wee to the NFL are always trying to come up with ways to reduce the amount of concussions. This includes rule changes such as no hits to the head and equipment such as Riddell’s new helmet. I believe with you in the fact that concussions are apart of the game and will never be stopped no matter what changes the league makes, but I believe the Riddell’s plan to reduce them as much as possible is the next best thing.


  26. Billy Muldoon April 27, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    This new technology is a big advancement in the reduction of sports-related concussions. Although it will not completely prevent an individual from getting a concussion, any little reduction in the actual chance of it occurring is reassuring. I also feel that this new technology could be used in other sports as well, like hockey for example. With both sports being extremely physical, the threat of injury is even greater which is why the players need to be protected with the highest quality gear.


  27. Andrew Arcidi April 28, 2015 / 12:06 am

    Football is a contact sport that will most likely always have a risk of injury, including concussions. That being said, I believe if Riddell, being the sports leading helmet supplier believes they have created a new helmet that will absorb more shock, reducing the risk of concussions, that it will indeed help with the amount of concussions. I would like to see more advances in protective wear in other sports as well like this in the future.


  28. Patrick Barrett April 28, 2015 / 12:34 am

    Being a player for a long period of time and having the privilege to play at the college level for a brief amount of time and wearing everything from the basic foam filled helmets to those with special shock absorbing masks and mixtures of gel and air bladders I have to say that helmets make a great difference in the protection of players heads. yet at the speed and strength that the game is played at higher levels the helmet can only do so much. every day I got off the field no matter the helmet I ever wore I had a head ache. Some days, but not most I felt ok but in no way would I say that the helmet does it all. Sure some hits that happen can be helped by a good helmet, but in the end if a hit is hard enough to give a concussion it is gonna be bad no matter what is on your head.


  29. Lauren Moran April 28, 2015 / 2:12 am

    Being part of a family where football was the dominant sport, I think that these helmets would be a great way to reduce concussions. My brother played in the collegiate level as well as my father and I definitely think that they could have reduced the number of concussions. Also I got the privilege to meet Ted Johnson who had to retire due to the number of concussions he got and this helmet would have definitely helped him elongate his season. The only thing I am skeptical about is the testing of the helmet and how realistic it is. It was be very expensive to supply these helmets with the amount of technology used. Also, testing on people could be dangerous.


  30. Patrick Breslin April 28, 2015 / 4:00 am

    I agree that concussions are part of the game and they most likely wont ever be stopped unless the game itself is changed. It is true that the less space for movement within a helmet results in less likeliness in getting a concussion. Therefore I personally think that every player on every football team should be specially measured and molded for a personal helmet that will fit their heads perfectly. This would greatly reduce the number of concussions, although it would still not stop them due to the nature of the sport. Riddell is on the right track to reduce the number of concussions although I don’t know if they or anyone will ever stop them.


  31. Paige Gilbert April 28, 2015 / 2:56 pm

    I find this approach of promoting a safer helmet to be a good idea, but I can see how conflict can come up. For this helmet to become the next big necessity in sports they have to perfect the technology, coaches will not want have their players using this if it saying they need to remove their players every time they get hit. But not he contrary, in most leagues kids do get hit hard enough to have a concussion and still continue to play, and in some cases a simple concussion can be turned into a hematoma just by being hit one more time. So having a helmet perfectly fitted to each players head could be more helpful in the case of safety when they bang their head. Taking this helmet to the NFL could be more difficult than high school level just because in high school parents want the safest version for their kids where in the NFL they are very superstitious about what they wear and their traditions limiting them from change.


  32. Zachery Washington April 28, 2015 / 3:36 pm

    Being a former player of football, the Speedflex does not sound too promising. Every year, since head injuries became a big deal, helmet manufacturers try to push that their helmets protect the best. I have used previous models of Riddell helmets and though I did not experience any head injuries while using them, I did witness multiple occasions where safety promises were not kept. This is a big step for Riddell and I believe it will only pay off if their helmets actually work as they are said to work.


  33. Ryan Zdanwich April 29, 2015 / 12:59 am

    As you said, it is obvious that it is extremely difficult to avoid concussions in football, however throughout the years Riddell has most likely pinpointed the key strengths and weaknesses of their helmets in respect to head impact. This helmet will probably reduce the concussion rate but not eliminate it, because football is football and anything is possible when it comes to head injuries. This is definitely a good direction for Riddell to go in because concussions are one of the biggest problems in football today, and reducing the concussion rate will build better trust in the brand. However, we need to see results in order to justify anything.


  34. Ariel Lobo April 29, 2015 / 1:46 am

    Fottball always has and always will be a dangerous sport. Head injuries will happen no matter how good a helmet is. The only way to prevent these injuries are to either change the rules, or to not play the game at all. If Riddell could perhaps provide a helmet that decreases the number of injuries, it will also decrease the fear of playing it. Parents nowadays I have noticed have been pulling kids pee wee football and not letting them play because of stories of players having brain damage etc from play football. If this new helmet is the real deal perhaps and hopefully it brings back kids to the game but most importantly keep them safe from the injuries football is known for.


  35. John Parrish April 29, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    I feel that no matter how advanced the helmet technology is, concussions will still be apart of the sport. Of course, the number of concussions can be reduced, but they will never be completely eliminated from the sport. In my opinion, concussions should be looked at in the ways the players are hitting and getting hit.


  36. Kyle Jacobs May 7, 2015 / 7:04 pm

    I personally don’t know much about football helmets, but I have played other heavy contact sports like hockey and lacrosse. I’m not quite sure if the helmets will work, but with the trends of technology in the past, the more R & D the better the product, so my hopes are high that it will help the sport ouch back concussions. If they do figure out down the line how to prevent concussions with a specific helmet, I’d hope they would share their findings with the hockey and lacrosse industries to try to make the games safer as well.


  37. Alicia April 2, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    I think this helmet will help to decrease the concussion rate across the NFL, however it will not completely prevent them. Still, this a step further in potentially being able to prevent them eventually. Concussions are one of, if not the number one injury in football, especially at the professional level. Many players, specifically quarterbacks, have had children with disabilities because of the head injuries they suffered during their playing days. For this reason, I think any step in reducing concussions no matter how small it vital.


  38. Kevin Poulter May 7, 2016 / 2:09 am

    As the game developed so does the technology. I love how they are now trying to reduce the concussions and head injuries in football. Concussions have been a huge problem and starting to be addressed. There some problems about the helmet however. It wont stop the concussion problem just reduce concussion. What the league needs to do is stop the players trying to make the hit using there helmet. Its a great move for the company working on ideas to prevent head injuries.


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