It's September, and the National Football League has returned. Yet shadowing the game again this season are growing concerns about players' brain health and safety.
In July, a neurological study revealed that the brains of more than 100 former football players were found to have a disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition linked to frequent blows to the head and concussions. CTE has become a hot button topic in the NFL, with the league going out of its way to safeguard players from its ravages.
"This has become not a sports protection problem, but a public health concern," VICIS CEO and co-founder Dave Marver told CNBC's "On the Money" recently. VICIS is a Seattle-based startup that's developed a new type of football helmet — called the Zero1 — they say can reduce the game's impact on the brain.
"70 NFL players are using it already out of the gate," Marver said. In Thursday night's Patriots-Chiefs season opener, "about a dozen of the Kansas City Chiefs were wearing the Zero1," including quarterback Alex Smith, Marver said.
In a laboratory study, the NFL and the NFL Players Association tested 33 helmets from different manufacturers, and the VICIS Zero1 came out on top.
Already, "about half the NFL teams have purchased this helmet already. So we think that's terrific for the first year."