Think you can build a better helmet? Join the Helmet Challenge! 

The NFL needs your help. 

There's no question that we love our football and football players. There's also no question that players have, unknowingly, suffered permanent brain damage from the hard hits they both gave and received throughout their careers. 

The NFL is dedicated to protecting players with the best equipment possible. It has set its sights on building a better helmet, and it's putting millions into the search. 

"The NFL Helmet Challenge is a $3 million innovation challenge that aims to stimulate the development by experts, innovators and helmet manufacturers of a new helmet for NFL players that outperforms, based on laboratory testing, all helmet models currently worn by NFL players," says the challenge website.

The cool thing about this challenge is that it's open to everyone who can build a prototype by the May 2021 deadline. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a solo inventor, a business, a student or researcher, or a helmet manufacturer, if your design tops the tests, you win. 

football helmet

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"Innovation can be catalyzed if we engage with creative and talented people from across disciplines to attack this challenge together. In collaboration with the NFL Players Association, we are making changes on and off the field in an effort to improve protection for every player. Trying to ensure that players wear the best possible helmet is a substantial part of that commitment," said Jeff Miller, the NFL's Executive Vice President for Health and Safety Innovation.

The selected design will win up to a $1M award, and also be eligible for a $2M grant to put the helmet into production. Up to three helmets may be selected as challenge winners (with prize money proportionately allocated to each).

If you are interested in submitting a design, the NFL is hosting a kickoff symposium at the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown, Ohio on November 13-15. According to the challenge website, the symposium agenda will include background on the current state of the science around helmets and certain concussions in the NFL, information on the challenge and available resources, and breakout sessions to stimulate networking, team building, and the creation of successful grant applications.

Check out the official rules of the Helmet Challenge on the NFL website