Game-changer? LSU testing new helmet technology to help protect athletes from COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has brought together the industries of medicine, science and technology like never before. The challenge is to find new technology that can be incorporated into existing norms, like wearing a football helmet.
LSU, in partnership with a Louisiana sports technology startup, has developed new helmet cooling technologies to make customizable air circulation devices for athletic helmets with the goal of helping to protect the players from coronavirus. That was reported by the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development.
“Player health and safety is a top priority at LSU,” football coach Ed Orgeron said in the news release. “Our staff makes sure our players have the best equipment and technology so we can have them on the field as safe as possible.”
The new devices, driven by fans, are being tested by LSU players. The improvements will help them stay cooler and more comfortable on the field, allowing the athletes to keep their helmets and additional COVID-19 safety gear on longer.
The new devices leverage the passive air vents in the helmet and make them active with small battery-driven fans attached to flexible tubing. For added protection, N95 filter material can be added at the intake.
An added bonus of these new solutions is that they can be used in combination with other protective gear, such as visors, lenses and face guards. Those barriers have a tendency to fog up, and increase overall body temperature, potentially leading to fatigue and dangerous health conditions, including heat stroke.
By providing active ventilation to make helmets cooler and more comfortable, LSU hopes to enable players to keep their protective gear on longer. With portable power packs that can last up to eight hours, players could keep their helmets on for an entire game or practice.
Here is an example.
Courtesy: Chris Parent, LSU Athletics