New football helmets hope to cut brain injuries

Football is undoubtedly one of the most high-impact sports. That's why Ralph Alouidor in Forest Hills is hesitant when it comes to letting his two sons join youth football teams. 

"It's a tough decision. My wife and I often ponder that decision. I think my wife is of the belief that they shouldn't play obviously due to circumstances such as the health risks," said Alouidor.

In the last few years, there has been an increased focus on concussions and CTE, which is a progressive degenerative brain disease. As a result, helmet manufacturing companies are creating new designs every year. 

"You'll see nearly half of the NFL players wearing the SpeedFlex Precision Helmet this season, said Thad Ide.  Ide is the Senior VP of Research & Product Development for Riddell, which is a company that creates custom-fit helmets tailored to an athlete's head shape and size. 

"What's unique about it is it starts with an actual 3D scan of the player's head and then we create a custom helmet with a unique pad set that matches the surface of the player's head-- giving them not only the most protective helmet they can possibly have, but also a great fitting, very comfortable helmet that's positioned just exactly the way they want to wear it," said Ide. 

One SpeedFlex precision helmet costs more than $1,700. Some say it’s a small price to pay to ensure safety. Others, like Collette Smith, a former professional football coach, feel that most families just won’t be able to afford these helmets.

"Their helmets sound great, I’m all up for it, but what are we doing to make this more affordable for the families of these kids to play football? I think they should be going out giving helmets away to teams," Smith said. 

But a lot of labor and the latest technology go into making each individual helmet, which is why it comes with such a hefty price tag. 

As of now, Riddell has made more than 2,000 Precision-Fit helmets-- mostly for NFL and college athletes. The company does plan to create these helmets for players in high school and at other levels in the years to come.