Trio honored for creation to reduce football players’ risk
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Three scientists have won the 2016 UW Medicine Inventor of the Year Award for collaborating to create a football helmet designed to mitigate forces thought to contribute to concussions.
The three University of Washington faculty receiving the award are from medicine and engineering: Samuel Browd, associate professor of neurosurgery and director of Seattle Children’s Sports Concussion Program; Per Reinhall, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Jonathan Posner, associate professor of mechanical engineering.
“Helmet technology hasn’t evolved much at all in 40 or 50 years,” Posner said. “Engineering and medicine are working together to come up with a practical solution.”
The three faculty members incorporated as Vicis (vy-sis), Latin for “change,” with the goal of using science to protect young athletes. The helmet’s outer shell buckles like a car bumper, with an inch-and-a-half thick layer of flexible struts that cushion the force of impact.
The community is invited to a ceremony honoring the awardees from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. The program includes an innovator showcase and a panel discussing the journey from a perceived medical need to a problem-solving collaboration with engineers, and then to market.