Football's $1,000 Helmet

A new, high-tech helmet tracks the severity of on-field hits in real time. But its potential benefit all depends on who's wearing it


X-ray of football helmet.

Coming soon to a worried parent near you: a sales pitch for a $1,000 football helmet that can monitor the precise location and severity of impacts to little Johnny's head. Leading helmetmaker Riddell plans to begin flooding high schools with take-home brochures this month and to start shipping this concussion-sensing gear to families in November. Says Riddell marketing chief Jim Heidenreich: "If people buy $1,000 drivers and $500 baseball bats, we hope they'll spend that kind of money on head protection."

The football field, to borrow a phrase from sports-injury researchers, is an impact-rich environment. Players frequently knock heads, but it's...

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