The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

Riddell Still At it with Concussion Advertising


Last year, the Associate Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Advertising Practices, attorney Mary Engle,  sent a letter to an attorney representing Riddell Sports Group, Inc. informing him that as a result of an FTC investigation into misleading advertising related to its Revolution® football helmets, the FTC has decided to “not to recommend enforcement action.”

In a nutshell, this is in relation to Riddell’s promotional activities and its claim that the Revolution® helmet reduced concussions by 31%. That claim was supported by a University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) study which was funded in part by Riddell. Although UPMC made some attempt to distance themselves from the  brouhaha (as noted by the FTC in justifying their lack of action) the  study does actually say:


“In terms of relative risk, Revolution wearers were 31 percent less likely to sustain a concussion compared to athletes who wore standard football helmets.”



Well, as pointed out in a new piece by Simon Lee, A Closer Look: The New Razorback Helmet, it seems as if Riddell may be at it again. Riddell along with the University of Arkansas, Nike and the SEC have produced a new ad to accompany the new Riddell Speedflex football helmet, “the most innovative and advanced in helmet technology today.” Instead of saying again that their product reduces concussions, the ad is careful to say that the helmet is designed to “reduce the risk of trauma.” Albeit, the ad does talk about concussions, it does not claim that helmet will specifically reduce the incidence of concussions, just trauma.

Another piece though, from Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports, New Helmet Technology Could Lead to Fewer Concussions, does go further into the safety advances incorporated into the Speedflex helmet and does suggest that the helmet could reduce the incidence of concussions. According to David Case, Head Equipment Manager at the University of Miami the helmet has been designed to distribute the impact of a direct hit away from the front of the helmet near the player’s forehead. If that concept does actually work, perhaps the helmet could reduce the incidence of concussions.

Also Read:

UPMC – Research or Marketing Partner?

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