National Football League

NFL HeadHealthTECH Challenge VI

NFL HeadHealthTECH Challenge VI

Be a part of the NFL innovation engine stimulating industry-disrupting advancements in player safety.
Winner Announcement
$1,000,000 per year

Challenge Overview

Help design the future of protective equipment


The National Football League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) partnered with Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI) to create the HeadHealthTECH Challenges. The TECH Challenges are an opportunity to showcase your thinking, solutions and novel approaches to improving protective equipment—and to join a community of experts and innovators passionate about safety in sports. Challenges V, VI and VII will be hosted in 2018.

The following focus areas are especially encouraged:

  • Improvements in helmet and/or the surfaces that helmets contact (e.g., turf, grass, other helmets, opponent padding, including shoulders, etc.);
  • Ready-to-deploy material advances;
  • Studies that define the range of exposures (e.g., location, speed of impact, frequency of impact) that can be used to improve test protocols for helmet development; and,
  • Studies that elucidate the optimal stress strain properties of helmet materials.

The HeadHealthTECH Challenges will dedicate funds to those with the most promising ideas. Winners will be eligible to receive funding from a total award pool of up to $1 million USD per year to further advance their proposed technology. Every TECH Challenge applicant also receives constructive feedback and mentoring from Duke CTSI biomechanical and biomedical engineering experts to help refine innovations and increase their chances for success on future submissions.


The Engineering Roadmap

The HeadHealthTECH Challenge series is one component of the Play Smart. Play Safe. Engineering Roadmap, a $60-million comprehensive effort—funded by the NFL and managed by FRI—to improve the understanding of the biomechanics of head injuries in professional football and to create incentives for helmet manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others to develop and commercialize new and improved protective equipment, including helmets.


Elevate Your Entry: New engineering resources for football helmet design

As part of the Engineering Roadmap, FRI continues to share research, data, tools, and information to crowdsource and stimulate innovation in protective equipment. In May, FRI released an open-source toolkit including finite element models of modern football helmets, impact test dummy components, and test conditions simulating on-field impacts. The finite element models are now available to the public as a platform and baseline resource for injury prevention research and to stimulate the development of novel and highly effective helmet designs and prototypes. Leading biomechanical engineers have also completed a comprehensive video review of player impacts to better understand concussion-causing events. The toolkit and the video review data are available for engineers and entrepreneurs to help improve equipment designs.


Click ACCEPT CHALLENGE above to learn more.


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